Category Archives: Assistive Devices for Persons with Disabilities

ACCESSIBILITY & ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

LIRNEasia, a not for profit think tank has been conducting research on inclusion across the

Asia Pacific. Lirneasia have conducted quantitative and qualitative research on disability access

and facilitated the development of mobile apps for inclusion.

Lirneasia organized a forum in August 2018 to discuss how ICTs facilitate independent living for

people with disabilities and well as current gaps in assistive technologies in Sri Lanka. Dinesh Kaushal from India facilitated the meeting and shared his ideas and answered relevant questions on assistive technologies.

Dinesh is an internationally known developer with over 14 years of experience in designing

and developing screen readers for vision impaired persons. Ms. Manique Gunaratne from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon joined the discussion on how to move forward with this concept.

 

Manique Gunaratne

Member – Asia Pacific Women with Disability United

FINGER READER

Singapore University of Technology & Design, University of Moratuwa, Dialog and The Emplloyers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training & Disability Resource Centre developed the Finger Reader device. Vision impaired ICT trainees of The Employerss’ Federation of Ceylon assisted to further develop this app with their valuable inputs for the research. The research was done in April and May 2018 at the EFC.

FingerReader aims to create an assistive device that sustainably change how the visually impaired community can independently access information on the go. Accessing visual information in a mobile context is a major challenge for the blind.

Designed and developed by the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), the FingerReader empowers the communities who would otherwise have no access to assistive technology because they were either too expensive or did not fulfill the user expectations.

Engagements with blind people reveal numerous difficulties with existing state-of-the-art technologies including problems with accuracy, mobility, efficiency, cost, and more importantly social exclusion. The design of FingerReader address these challenges as it is a finger-worn accessory that allows users to simply point at products, restaurant menus, signs etc. to perform a recognition and interpretation task on what the FingerReader sees and hear the result spoken to him or her through a headset.

Dialog joined hands with SUTD to deploy FingerReader devices in Sri Lanka to support Sri Lanka’s visually impaired community.

The expert team members are Prof. Suranga Nanayakkara, Mr. Roger Boldu and Mr. Haimo Zhang.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique speaking.

2 Manique with Tharaka and Peniel from University of Moratuwa.

3 Vision impaired trainees doing the research.

4 Research team from University of Moratuwa and EFC trainees.

5 Tharidu with the supporting team from Dialog.

Manique Gunaratne

Executive Committee Member – Disability Organisations’ Joint Front

ACCESS TO ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY

Presidential Secretariat invited Ms. Manique Gunaratne and Ms. Ayasana Gunasekera of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon to participate in an initial discussion on access to assistive technology (AT)/products to better respond to the needs of people with disabilities.

This discussion was organized in partnership with the Coordinating Centre for Students with Disabilities (CCSD) of the University of Kelaniya, the Centre for Disability Studies (CDS) of the University of Kelaniya, Centre for Disability Research, Education and Practice  (CEDREP) of the University of Colombo and the Students’ Association for the Visually- Impaired of the University of Sri Jayawardenapura.

The aim of this discussion was to generate a critical conversation on access to AT/products by reviewing and evaluating the current ground level realities connected to policies, products, procurement, personnel and provision of AT/products through narratives on the lived experiences of persons with disabilities and other key stakeholders.

This we hope would lead to the identification of key areas for further discussion with a wider representation of stakeholders with a view to inform the national action Plan for Disabilities and formulating a clear road-map to enable ‘access for all’ by 2030 through a national policy on AT and national AT programmes.

Through this discussion, we hope to encourage a critical conversation on:

  1. The current local barriers and facilitators to accessing AT/products and examples of best practices and service delivery models
  2. Mechanisms to determine the current grassroots-level need for AT/products across the country
  3. Key areas for wider discussion with a larger group of stakeholders in a follow-up meeting to formulate a national policy and programmes on AT/products.

Manique Gunaratne

Tel. – 0094117801801

Finger reader

FingerReader aims to create an assistive device that sustainably change how the visually impaired community can independently access information on the go. Accessing visual information in a mobile context is a major challenge for the blind.

Designed and developed by the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), the FingerReader empowers the communities who would otherwise have no access to assistive technology because they were either too expensive or did not fulfill the user expectations.

Engagements with blind people reveal numerous difficulties with existing state-of-the-art technologies including problems with accuracy, mobility, efficiency, cost, and more importantly social exclusion. The design of FingerReader address these challenges as it is a finger-worn accessory that allows users to simply point at products, restaurant menus, signs etc. to perform a recognition and interpretation task on what the FingerReader sees and hear the result spoken to him or her through a headset.

Dialog joined hands with SUTD to deploy FingerReader devices in Sri Lanka to support Sri Lanka’s visually impaired community.

The expert team members are Prof. Suranga Nanayakkara, Mr. Roger Boldu and Mr. Haimo Zhang.

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon together with Dialog and Singapore University of Technology & Design launched the Finger Reader mobile app at the EFC ICT Graduation held at the Sri Lanka Foundation in November 2017.

 

Picture description for vision impaired persons:

Launch of the mobile app.

 

Manique Gunaratne

Council Member – Cisco Networking Academy Council

 

SCHMOOZER

Schmoozer is a mobile application that supports vision impaired individuals to read documents, which contains images, graphs and equations. The mobile application allows vision impaired individuals to auto capture and upload images of a printed document to the server. Then provides voice output to them within 2 – 3 minutes. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon together with the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) launched the Schmoozer mobile app at the EFC ICT Graduation held at the Sri Lanka Foundation in November 2017. The expert team members are Mr. Anuradha Jayakody, Ms. Narmada Gamage, Mr. Wenura Jayadewa, Mr. Ashan Lokuge, Ms. Bhagya Senanayake and Ms. Manique Gunaratne.

 

Picture description for vision impaired persons:

Launch of the Schmoozer mobile app.

 

Manique Gunaratne

Sub Committee Member of Policy Development Unit of Prime Minister’s Office on Vocational, Technical Training and Employment Focusing on Persons with Disabilities

ENGLISH EYE

“English Eye” is a Way to Learn English language for Vision Impaired persons using mobile based application. As Sri Lankans, everyone in our country the mother language is either Sinhala or Tamil. Most of the time they speak with their mother tongue. Merely with the globalization effect of the globe, everybody need linking language to communicate, hence English language is the option available for us to rely on. Hence in this project aims to improve English knowledge of blind and vision impaired people in Sri Lanka including spoken skills and grammar skills. People who are without any disabilities can also use this application for improving their English language skill. This mobile application consist interfaces that can be supported with voice or gesture commands in a user-friendly manner to control interfaces. It has impliemnted lessons according to the levels such as initial, intermediate and advance. Among the special features, it enables to give feedback automatically to climb the steps. The application support to get the feedback both voice or as a printed sheet. Further it has facilitated with brail key board as an interface, so it facilitates to read and The embed dictionary has both voice and brail input, and also it supports Sinhala and English language vice versa. The lesson practice and sentence builder work with a grammar checker, and it provides more supports to the individual vision impaired English learning beginner. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon together with the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) launched the “English Eye” mobile app at the EFC ICT Graduation held at the Sri Lanka Foundation in November 2017. The expert team members are Anuradha Jayakody, Shashika Lokuliyana, Tharindu Sampath, Tharuka Sandaru, Lakshani Rajanthika, Tharindu Bandara and  Manique Gunaratne.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

Launch of the English Eye mobile app.

 

Manique Gunaratne

Member – Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter

O FINDER

O’Finder is an obstacle recognizing instrument for the visually impaired. It is a small device that can be worn on the finger which detects the obstacles and feeds the information through the haptic sensor. The user can direct the device to the spaces in front and it will create a vibration pattern depending on the space utilization in the space. It has the ability to detect obstacles in a range up to 4 meters and will allow the users to sense the obstacles that they may come across in the navigation. The system is also empowering the users through an audio feed allowing a clearer background understanding. The O’Finder is enabled in indoor and outdoor navigation and will allow the users to move more freely and safely in the community. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon together with the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) launched the “O Finder” device at the EFC ICT Graduation held at the Sri Lanka Foundation in November 2017. The expert team members were, Mr. Anuradha Jayakody, Mr. Janith Jayasinghe, Mr. Kavindu Jayasundara, Mr. Binujaya Rajatheja, Mr. Chamod Oshan and Ms. Manique Gunaratne.

Picture description for vision impaired persons:

Launch of the O Finder device.

Manique Gunaratne

Manager – Specialise Training and Disability Resource Centre of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon

TALKING CALCULATOR

TALKING CALCULATOR

 

Talking calculators are designed for blind and low vision users as well as second language learners. They announce the numbers and calculation results

in a clear voice. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training & Disability Resource Centre is equipped with talking calculators for the benefit of vision impaired persons.

 

Video:

 

Manique Gunaratne

Founder Members Team – South Asian Women with Disabilities Network

ANGEL PLAYER

Angel Player is a device specially designed for vision impaired persons which has the speech facility.

It has an e-book reader which reads text files, word files, pdf files and epub files. It has a music folder which plays all the mp3 files. The Daisy folder reads all the Daisy (Digital accessible information system) books. The video folder will play all the video files. The recorder is useful to record and play back any recorded file. It also has a radio and any radio programme can be recorded as wished. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities and the Disability Resource Centre is equipped with an Angel Player.

 

Video:

 

 

Manique Gunaratne

Skype – manique.g

 

SIGNATURE GUIDE WITH BRAILLE

The signature guide assists vision impaired persons to place the signature at the correct place. The signature guide with Braille gives the opportunity for vision impaired persons to place the signature in Braille if needed.

 

Video:

 

Manique Gunaratne

Web: www.employers.lk