Scientist invents ‘manovue’ to help the visually impaired see
04 April 2019| 28 Rajab 1440| India Times
Most of us are privileged enough to be able to see through our eyes but there are others who are either partially or completely blind. In order to make it easier for the blind people to see, Braille was invented to aid them by Louis Braille in 1824. Braille is a tactile writing system used by people who are visually impaired. However, this system has considerable shortcomings in the 21st century like difficulty in language learning, unavailability and the high cost of braille books, in-availability of all books in braille.
In order to make things easier for blind people, 23-year-old Roopam Sharma realised the need of the hour and invented a piece of technology that is predicted to revolutionise reading methods for the visually impaired community. His product, Manovue, is a digital glove that can scan text in the wearer’s surroundings, making the world more disability-friendly and accessible.
In an exclusive conversation with Indiatimes, Roopam Sharma gave a detailed insight into his invention ranging from its idea to turning into an affordable reality.
How it all began?
Getting blindfolded for 30 minutes in 2015 and the subsequent visit to a blind school in Delhi paved the way for Roopam to realise how difficult was it for the blind people to live their life without any proper assistance. Braille was invented but less that 1% of the community is braille literate in India. “Sadly, it’s been more than four thousand years after the advent of reading and writing but sadly less than one percent of the text is available in braille. Due to this, the community has very limited educational and job options. My team and I saw an urgent need to do change this scenario in-order to secure a better future”, he said.
What is Manovue?
Manovue is the world’s first intelligent wearable visual assistant. The word Manovue is derived from a combination of two words: Mano, Spanish word for Hand and Vue, French word for Vision. The user wears Manovue on its hand and simply points its finger towards any printed text and the device reads out aloud what’s written over there. Manovue is an inexpensive technology that replaces the 200-year-old braille language and brings employability, employment and empowerment to the visually impaired community.
Who all can benefit from Manovue?
Manovue’s technology can also benefit people who are illiterate or have dyslexia, second language learners, tourists in need of translation, young children learning their first language or even people recovering from brain trauma. Manovue can also provide distraction free reading and learning experience to the patients of Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The cost of the device and when can we expect to reach its target audience?
At present, the lowest end model is priced at $28 (Rs. 1,935 approx). “We’re currently working on reducing the cost of this technology so as to make it affordable in the least income settings and help it reach the masses. We will mass produce the device once the cost is attained,” Roopam said. He added that the product should reach the consumers by 2020, if not sooner.
Courtesy his invention, Roopam has bagged a coveted place on Foreign Policy’s list of 100 Global Thinkers for living by the principles of social impact and technological invention.