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Tech-savvy vision

Charudatta Jadhav focuses on adopting & adapting technology to make life easier for visually challenged people

Written by PRIYAL DAVE | Published: September 8, 2013 12:41:18 am

In a move that could help visually-challenged persons in customising Android-operated Tablets,DAISY Forum of India (Digital Accessible Information System) along with Delhi-based NGO Saksham and Connexus Systems,Noida,have a developed a Tablet with applications meant for such users.

Charudatta Jadhav,45,chairman of the technology committee of DAISY Forum of India says,“Our aim is to ensure that companies selling Tablets in future are equipped with applications so that visually-challenged persons do not have to customise the product later at an additional cost.”

The customised Tablet has a physical keyboard attached that is configured with applications useful for persons with blindness or low vision. The Tablet is being configured to provide solutions for students so that they can read and write,says Jadhav.

Jadhav,who is Head Innovation Strategist at Tata Consultancy Services,has many firsts among his achievements. He was the first blind Indian chess player to win a medal in an international chess tournament organised in Ireland in 1988. He was also part of the first blind team on a Himalayan Expedition in 1992 and the first blind Indian chess player to get an international rating in the Commonwealth chess tournament at Mumbai in 2004.

“I was 13 when I lost vision in the left eye. My father,a mill worker,always wanted me get good education and be successful. I wanted to fulfil his dream.”

Jadhav continued his studies in a regular school till class X. He would hold his notes close to his face and read,despite doctors advising him not to. Jadhav eventually lost vision in the right eye,too.

The turning point in his life came when he won a district level chess championship in 1985. “I was the only blind player in the tournament. That win motivated me.” For the past 28 years,Jadhav has promoted chess globally. With the support of Global Foundation,he is credited with developing ‘Talk 64’,a chess software with speech facilities that is used in 30 countries.

Over the past decade,he has been focusing on technology to improve lives for the blind. Jadhav received a national award for best disabled employee from former President A P J Abdul Kalam in 2006.

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