Ms Ankita Gulati, founder of TouchVision, an IIT Delhi incubated startup working on the design and development of inclusive learning resources for visually impaired people has won the NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Award 2019, which is given away every year to those who have been doing exemplary work towards the cause of accessibility and thus ensuring a life of equality and dignity for people with disabilities.
Ms Gulati got this award for developing a multisensory kit which narrates the content in the raised picture when a visually-impaired person touches it.
Ms Gulati, who did her Masters from Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women (IGDTU), has worked for over last four years at Assistive Technologies Lab, IIT Delhi to bring this concept to a user friendly product, said a statement from IIT Delhi.
TouchVision aims at digital inclusion for the 253 million persons with visual impairment globally.
"Visually impaired children are not encouraged to study subjects like Science, Maths and Geography. TouchVision is trying to change this reality by working with various government bodies and MNCs," said Ms Gulati.
Describing her innovation, she added, "Touch friendly graphics are read with the help of a smartphone application. The smartphone app provides simultaneous audio to the user as per index finger's location. Label and description of the diagrams are narrated based on different finger gestures performed by the user."
In its 10th edition now, the NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards were given away by Rama Devi, sitting Member of Parliament and Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, on the eve of Independence Day, at India International Centre in New Delhi.
Presiding over the event, Ms Devi said, "We have to change the paradigm- parents must not feel sorry for giving birth to a child with disability. We have to ensure they have access to independence and livelihoods."
Arman Ali, Executive Director of NCPEDP, while addressing the gathering at the award ceremony said, "Without accessibility, inclusion is impossible. Some of the ideas that have won this year are so futuristic that it gives us hope. We need to take the message to smaller towns and districts that accessibility is beyond just building a ramp".
The Awards are given every year under three categories. Ms. Ankita Gulati has received the award under category 'B' (for Working Professionals) for TouchVision's contribution towards empowering visually impaired people.
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