Thiruvananthapuram

Enriching experiencefor Kazakh students

Students from Kazakhstan undergoing internship at the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar

Students from Kazakhstan undergoing internship at the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar  

From the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan to Kerala, it has been a journey of discovery and enrichment for Aisula Izmailova, Alfiya Kulmukhanova, Akzharkyn Izbassarova, and Aibek Ryskaliyev.

Far from the biting cold and harsh summer heat of their homeland, the four engineering students from Nazarbayev University are elated over the mild climate in Kerala and their first exposure to free software during their six-week internship programme at the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) here.

Ask them about their project work and they open up immediately, explaining their efforts to develop a Smartphone application that will enable visually challenged people to navigate obstacles.

“We are just days away from completing the development of the mobile app,” says Aisula. Designed to run on a Smartphone worn on the waist, the application makes use of the built-in camera on the device to capture and analyze visuals and derive an internal map of the layout of the area in front of the person. The user is alerted to obstacles in his path by a tone that changes in pitch and frequency depending on the proximity of the impediment.

“The project is built around the Open Source Computer Vision (OpenCV) library, the most popular toolkit available for computer vision and related domains,” says Satish Babu, Director, ICFOSS, who is mentoring the students along with Alex James, faculty at Nazabayev University. “It makes use of the open source library to analyse visuals and identify objects.”

Dr. James, who hails from Thiruvananthapuram, was instrumental in getting the students to do their internship at ICFOSS.

Aibek is confident that the app could be further developed at a later stage to benefit more people with impaired faculties. Apart from the Linux free operating system, the English-speaking students, all undergraduates majoring in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, have also had their first exposure to the Java software platform. On completion of the course, they plan to take up jobs in the communications industry, the most promising sector in Kazakhstan.

Named after the long-time president of Kazakhstan, the Nazarbayev University is located in Astana, the country’s capital.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 6:45:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/enriching-experiencefor-kazakh-students/article6304140.ece

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