Connecting the dots with ease

January 17, 2016 12:00 am | Updated September 23, 2016 12:51 am IST - KOCHI:

Western music notes and Braille, a tactile writing system used by the visually-challenged, seem unconnected at first.

But, Paul Dsouza saw a connection.

One day, his fascination of how a string of lines and dots could turn into music threw him an idea. “One of those dots leapt at me from the page asking if lines and dots could be converted into music, then why can’t printed words be converted into Braille,” says the 50-year-old from Bangalore. After close to seven years of chasing the idea, he now has a prototype of a product, which does exactly that.

Copy any printed text in a pen drive and connect it to the device, which Mr. Dsouza has named Refreshable Braille Display, and it will be converted into Braille in real time. He claims that when fully developed, the device would be available for Rs.15,000 compared to largely unaffordable similar imported equipment.

Mr. Dsouza said he had progressively brought down the time taken to shift to the next line from the initial 25 seconds to a hundredth of a millisecond.

Reverse conversion

Now, he is working on developing a technology for a reverse conversion — Braille script into words – with the help of a Bangalore-based company. The goal is to make the device capable of reading multiple languages and mass two-way conversion.

“Once developed, the device would empower the visually-challenged to do away with the help of a scribe in exams while examiners without the knowledge of Braille can also correct their papers,” he said.

An engineering dropout, he knows that the success of his product is critical to his future. Mr. Dsouza’s focus is fully on his product, which he hopes will be fully developed later this year.

Paul Dsouza has come up with a device which converts text into Braille in real time

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