Aman Srivastav and Sanskriti Dawle – Bitten By The Innovation Bug
The BITS Pilani Goa Campus on the outskirts of our neighbourhood is an enclave where achieving technical excellence is the mantra.
Reputed corporate organisations and industries throng the campus placement sessions offering lucrative monetary packages to recruit those graduating and entering the job market.
But there are some students who consciously veer off the road well-travelled and courageously prefer to beat their own path.
Aman Srivastav and Sanskriti Dawle were bitten by the entrepreneurial bug when they attended a workshop on the “Raspberry Pi” – the well known affordable mini computer while they were in the second year of their Computer Science course at BITS Goa.
A course on “New Venture Creation” with talks by Young Startups gave an added fillip and inspiration to pursue their innovative entrepreneurial dreams.
They got thinking as to how they can use this technology for something more socially useful than just a pure commercial product. Their search revealed that “Braille” – the language reading method used by the visually impaired was ideally suited for application of this technology. They also found that the currently available “Refreshable Braille Displays” available in the market were very expensive and therefore out of reach of the vast majority of the visually impaired.
They, therefore, set upon developing a low cost “Braille Teaching Device” that would be interfaced with a mobile phone. An opportunity to present their innovation at the technical conference “PYCon” at Montreal, Canada, generated considerable interest. This experience widened the horizons and awareness of the usefulness and marketability of their innovation. They were convinced of the immense scope of their innovative device in transforming the lives of the huge number of visually impaired around the world.
Their idea and concept also won them the Prof Suresh Ramaswamy Memorial Award for Student Innovation and Exceptional Achievement instituted by the BITS Goa. This gave them an initial funding to develop their prototype device and added to their passion to make this innovative device a reality.
Their “Braille Teaching Device” has the potential to significantly improve the employability of the vast number of visually impaired people. It can also be used by Braille instructors to teach Braille. Since it is interfaced to a mobile phone it can be used to teach Braille even where the student and instructors are in different locations.
Their innovative device is now in the testing and fine tuning stage. A lot more work needs to be done before it can be put into the market and used. They are also being assisted by several of their fellow students who have the core expertise required in various technical areas of the product development.
If the “Make in India” slogan is to be realised on the ground, then young innovators like Aman Srivastav and Sanskriti are the need of the hour.
Learn more about Project Mudra here.