In the first part of our NASSCOM series I covered projects for the visually impaired and more, the second part focused more on projects aimed at social causes like providing food, water and healthcare. Today we’ll be concluding with the last few entries for the Genpact NASSCOM Social Innovation Honours 2011.

There are two more projects that have chances of victory at the event that will be held on the 8th of Feb. One focuses on photography for the visually impaired while the other is an application that lets the blind and the people suffering from cognitive impairment bond and educate themselves.

This is an application developed by computer engineering students from V.E.S Institute of Technology, Mumbai. Explore is meant to provide an interface to the visually impaired, or for victims of other vision problems. It's even designed to caters to the cognitively impaired.

The unseen interface

As Samiran Saha says, “Explore lets visually impaired people learn their pre-defined syllabus with the help of ‘talking textbooks’, connect with friends through Facebook and other social networks and in turn, share and collaborate their knowledge with the world.” This simply follows their principle of 'Learn, Connect, Share & Collaborate'.

Explore provides a voice (and visual for the cognitively impaired) interface for the blind, explaining to them the basic usage of a computer. The application can help provide instructions on using proprietary Windows software such as WordPad, Notepad, Paint and Internet Explorer. Samiran says that they’re making a generic version of the application that will also help in using most of the third party applications.

Explore doesn’t implement any kind of hardware and although the group is on the lookout to make this a commercial product, they intend to price Explore at somewhere around Rs. 8,000-10,000 and are open to negotiations for bulk orders.

Blind With Camera
A unique project that involves blind people clicking pictures and taking an interest in art and painting, Blind With Camera has been developed by the Mumbai-based Beyond Sight Foundation.

This project encourages the blind to go forth with their creativity, in terms of visual art, by conducting workshops. Various tactile, audio clues, visual memories of sight, the warmth of light and cognitive skills are used by the visually impaired to create a “mental image” before they take a call on taking the picture. Apart from workshops, they also have an e-learning website which lets visually impaired people from around the world start off with photography.

This website provides basic and advanced tutorials, with each lesson having detailed descriptions of instructions that are to be followed. There are some videos available on the site along with links to other various works by blind professionals. Here is a small visual demonstration.

Looking at how Ludwig van Beethoven continued being legendary despite losing his hearing, a blind photographer doesn't seem too far fetched.

That's all for now – the winners of GNSIH 2011 will be announced on February 8th. We'll be providing a round-up for the event, so stay tuned.

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