The shortage of Braille books will now matter less for visually-impaired students in Pune and nearby areas,with the installation of digital Braille libraries by city-based voluntary organisations working for the blind.
The two libraries were installed and tested last month and students have started using them. The digital Braille library includes five independent readers along with a Pentium 4 core 2 Duo processor,Braille reader,Braille embosser and two uninterrupted power supply systems. It is sponsored under the Rotary Matching Grant Project and implemented by the Rotary Club of Pune Westend in association with the Rotary Club of Eau Gallie,Florida,USA.
In the system designed by Modular Infotech Private Limited and Automatic Control Equipments,one has to first translate a book into Braille using the Braille translator software. Any text in Devnagari and Roman script can be translated into Braille using the Duxbury Braille translator. After translation,these books are stored in pen drives,which can then be connected to Braille Mitra,as each unit of the digital Braille library is called, said Meena Bedarkar,founder of Nirmalya Trust,one of the two institutions that received the library system. One can also take the printout of the translated Braille books on Braille embosser.
Each reader can work independently without the help of a PC. The user can feel a line of Braille characters that appear on this reader,similar to that of a Braille book. The line is driven by a microcomputer,the next line appears automatically on the same place. The reader also has options like forward,rewind,next book and so on. The total cost of the project is Rs 16.8 lakh.
Ismail Attar,one of the users of the library,said,this will be of great help to students as there is a shortage of Braille text books,especially after class XI. They have to depend on fellow students for study material and notes. However,now,they can convert an entire textbook into Braille and read it on this library.
He said it will especially help visually and hearing-impaired students. Niwant Andha Mukta Vidyalaya,Viman Nagar has also received this digital Braille library.