College girls develop app for social cause

The unique app in Hindi will convert sign language into speech and vice-versa for the hearing and speech impaired

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Pune: 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 taken this unique app.
The app converts the sign language into speech that will help a hearing and speech impaired person talk to people 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 in the Android market and serve a similar purpose.” 
For the project, the girls visited the Aadhar Deaf School located at Bibvewadi, Pune, where they researched 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. 
While encourage the initiative, Bilavari Karkare, principal, VIIT, Pune, has asked the college management to sponsor a smartphone with the app installed to the Aadhar Deaf School.

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