Software for the handicapped

Susan Muthalaly

It can be customised as per user's ability, loaded on a mobile If the user is blind, the software will be voice-enabled; for the hearing impaired, visual directions will be given in black and white

CHENNAI: Imagine if a mobile phone could direct a visually impaired person in Egmore to the Ethiraj College bus stop and once she reaches, advice her to take 27L to get to the Women's Christian College bus stop.

Snowwood, a Chennai-based mobile enabling software company, has made this a reality with their `Software for the Handicapped'. It is customised according to the user's disability and can be loaded on a mobile phone. This means that if a person is mute or hearing impaired, the software can be adjusted to become voice-enabled or visual, as the case demands. The software was recently presented to an NGO, Amar Seva Sangam, and is being used for a trial period. Satish S. Sahasranamam, co-founder, Snowwood, says they do not intend to use the software commercially.

At present, Amar Seva Sangam that works with the disabled , has the intellectual property rights to the software. The software has been tried on a Nokia 6600. As the software is power-consuming and the user may become dependent on it to get around, it is programmed with power-saving tactics if the user is blind, the screen will remain blank but the software will be voice-enabled.

For the hearing impaired, visual directions will be given in black and white.

Snowwood decided to pool its knowledge in the mobile software industry to create this as a goodwill gesture and an experiment. The installation cost is Rs 4.5 lakh and it can support up to 300 users.