IIT-Kgp software to convert Indian languages into Braille

Kolkata: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur (IIT-Kgp) have developed a unique technology via a software that enables conversion of Indian languages into Braille for the visually challenged.

The institute is also planning to go for large-scale deployment in West Bengal and other states.

The Sparsha Transliteration System developed by IIT-Kgp’s Communication Empowerment Lab, led by Anupam Basu, can accept Indian language texts (such as Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Telugu, Oriya, Kannada) as input and convert it into Braille.

“The software takes any Indian language text as input in Unicode and can convert it to Braille and facilitates the production of Braille textbooks,” Basu, a professor at IIT-Kgp’s department of computer science and engineering, told IANS on Wednesday.

“This helps the visually challenged to access information from a variety of sources,” Basu said.

The converted files can be printed out through any Braille embosser (printer for Braille).

IIT-Kgp recently inked a deal with Odisha’s Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan University to produce necessary Braille books in Odiya through Sparsha.

“It is being used in many places in India and we are planning to go for large-scale deployment. We have talked to blind schools in Bengal and also the Bengal government. We are planning to approach other state governments as well,” Basu said.

Among the variety of pioneering and award-winning assistive technologies developed, there is also the ‘speech-enabled Baishakhi keyboard’ for the blind.

“Using this software, the blind people will be able to type (Bangla and English) and hear what they are typing,’ Basu said.

The purpose is that blind students who sit for exams… they need writers… that will no longer be needed. They can use internet, email themselves through the technology,” he added.