Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Assistive Technology and Student Innovation in India

Innovation and experimentation is the mantra for the students of Padmasri Dr. B.V. Raju Institute of Technology, (BVRIT). The college hosted a three-day ‘National Conference on Assistive Technology’ (NCAT 2011) recently. The theme of the conference was “Making technology an integral part of the disabled.”

BVRIT has set up an Assistive Technology Lab (ATL) in collaboration with University of Massachusetts, Lowell, USA. Speaking on the occasion, Chairman of Sri Vishnu Education Society K.V. Vishnu Raju said that assistive technology is helping dreams become reality for many physically challenged people.

The conference aimed at providing a platform for practising assistive technology scientists, engineers, students, manufacturers, NGO’s and end users to showcase their expertise. Shilpi Kapoor, Managing Director, Barrier Break Technologies, Mumbai, said, “In our company, 75 per cent of the employees are disabled and they can do a job as good as anyone of us”.

The highlight of the conference was the student exhibits, which displayed their innovative talent. K. Swathi, II year ECE, explained the functionality of the ‘Quadriplegic Tilt Control Patient Monitoring System’. “This is the brainchild of Nithin Menon and Akhila, who won the 2nd prize in the T.I. Analog Design contest in Bengaluru.” The students of BVRIT have also developed a unique solar wheelchair. Nithin Menon, a final year BME student, who developed the unique system discloses, “I am interested in robotics but currently, I am just focussing on holding on to the top university rank.”

Though it is not part of the curriculum, assistive technology deals with a section of society neglected by technical institutes. Karthik Puvvada, a 2010 graduate of the institute, says, “This is such a novel idea and a path-breaking area. I always wanted to think beyond classrooms and bring in cutting edge technology to revive the lives of the differently abled.”

Bill Gould, an American student working with Prof. Alan Rux from University of Massachusetts, shares, “We came for the ALT and though this is my first visit to India, I am enjoying doing technology stuff in BVRIT. The students here are very co-operative and helpful”.

Source: Deccan Chronicle, August 3, 2011
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