The Optimist Citizen
Divya Nayan

Divya Nayan: A text-to-speech device that can become a new light for the visually impaired

This year has indeed been path breaking for the technological innovations that came in to solve the problems of the visually impaired. And one such innovation has been brought forward by the Chandigarh based Central Scientific Instruments Organization (CSIO).

They have developed a reading machine for the visually impaired, called the “Divya Nayan”, which can scan a given text and read it aloud for the user to understand. As explained to the Indian Science Journal by Dr Ashish Gaurav, the Principal Scientist at CSIO, “The device is standalone, portable (410gms), completely wireless and uses open source hardware and software. The device can analyse a multicolumn document and provide seamless reading. It is capable of page, text and word level navigation while reading”. With a big internal storage of 32 GB and a battery life of up to 3 hours, the device is also equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as well. While Hindi is the only language programmed in the device so far, it is believed that the device will soon be enabled for other languages as well, including English. It can also be connected to a monitor and used as a mini computer with screen reader utility. A trial for the device was done at the Institute for the Blind based in Chandigarh.

In terms of the costs for development of the device, it is being backed by funds from the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) wings of various companies. Initially, it would be distributed to around 269 blind institutes across the country, without any cost. Even though the target price remains below Rs.10,000, it is assumed that the affordability will increase with the increase in its commercial manufacture.

With such a widespread applicability and eventual impact, Divya Nayan might very well become a probable substitute for braille system, the primary methodology of reading for those with a visual impairment.

This article was originally published in The Optimist Citizen – Issue 19 dated 16 FEB ’17.  Get exclusive early access to the stories, SUBSCRIBE NOW.

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