Gursimran Singh, a class 11 student of the Amity International School in Gurugram, has been awarded a ₹20 lakh grant for his device that will enable visually impaired people to read. To date, his device has helped approximately 150 people with visual impairment.
The device, named EyeScribe, is a wearable piece of technology that facilitates reading and comprehension by dictating the text and allowing the user to create a mental picture of the subject. It uses the concept of binaural beats, artificial sounds caused by specific physical stimuli which prompt a response from the brain.
The EyeScribe is smartphone-compatible and can be translated into different languages. It’s set to open up a whole new world a visually impaired person.
“It records the sounds you are surrounded by, and these sounds are of different frequencies. So it converts those frequencies into a single frequency. Then the binaural beats take over, fooling your brain into creating a 3D mental picture of your surroundings” Gursimran told the Times of India.
“The device has two main functions — it has a camera attached with spectacles that takes pictures of the text that they want to read,” Gursimran was reported by the Business Standard as saying.
“All the processing happens in a micro-processive platform called Raspberry pie. The image goes under an optical character recognition (OCR) software. Then, the text is extracted and converted into audio with the help of a text-to-speech (TTS) engine,” he continued.
Singh was inspired by his grandfather’s blind brother to make a device which would help visually-impaired people. He witnessed the struggles that he went through and was filled with resolve to help those with visual diabilities.
Creating the device was time-consuming as he had to find an institution that would allow him to test the design and performance of his device, a quest that was not easy to follow. It was after he spent a week working closely with some eye specialists who tested the device on their patients that his design was finally validated and deemed fit for use.
Eyescribe won Gursimran an award at the 7th Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards held in India this April. He received a gold medallion, a certificate of excellence, a cash reward of ₹50,000 and a return trip to Washington D.C. where he is currently representing India at the global Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. As part of the ceremony in the US, Singh will take part in events at prestigious venues like The White House, The Smithsonian National Museum and Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium.
The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) has granted Singh a grant-in-aid of ₹ 20 lakh that will enable the development of EyeScribe at a commercial level for distribution across the country. He hopes that he can continue to improve the device from the user feedback he received.