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College girls develop app for hearing and speech impaired people

Monday, 2 June 2014 - 3:55am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

A team of four girls from the city-based Vishwakarma Institute of Information Technology (VIIT) have developed an android app to bridge the communication gap that exists between hearing and speech impaired people and normal beings.

In an attempt to utilise their technical skills for a social cause, four students in their final year of engineering—Apeksha Bhat, Shubhangi Yerolkar, Nisha Advani and Sayali Bora,—have developed this unique app.

This unique app converts sign language into speech that actually helps a hearing and speech impaired person to talk to others who don't understand sign language. Conversely, the hearing and speech impaired person can know what the other person speaks as the app also converts verbal language back into sign language.

Talking about what differentiates their app from others in the market, Bhat says, "Designing an app in Hindi and only using the Indian Standard Sign Language was the most-difficult aspect of the whole development process. It is this feature that distinguishes our app from the others available in the Android market and serve similar purpose."

The project took the girls through a journey of research with Aadhar Deaf School located at Bibvewadi, in Pune where they visited regularly to understand the special needs of the hearing impaired students. "Sitting in their classrooms, interacting with their faculty and the principal was an eye-opener for us. We were inspired to contribute in whatever small way we could to bridge the communication gap between them and us," said Yerolkar.

To encourage the initiative, Bilavari Karkare, Principal, VIIT asked the college to sponsor a smartphone with this app installed to the Aadhar Deaf School.

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