Problem statement

A project log for Project BASICS

A concerned effort to improve the basic standard of living in underdeveloped and developing countries.

debargha-gangulyDebargha Ganguly 05/21/2017 at 12:440 Comments

The WHO projects that 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision. About 90% of the world's visually impaired belong to the low income group. Scientists are trying to make eyes for the people who are blind. Some have even tried cathode ray implants inside the brain, but these are extremely expensive, provide very little vision and these procedures are invasive. But what if we use another unconventional sense for sight? Bats can do it, dolphins can, why can’t we? Echolocating animals emit calls out to the environment and listen to the echoes of those calls that return from various objects near them. They use these echoes to locate and identify the objects and obstacles. Since, about 90% of the world's visually impaired live in low-income settings, they can’t afford anything but a walking stick that can’t detect objects outside a 0.5 metre range or anything above waist height unless they don’t collide with it. Basic spatial awareness is extremely important for any person, and therefore this device tries to solve the same problem. When the brain is deprived of input from one sensory organ, it can change in such a way that it augments other senses, a phenomenon called cross-modal neuroplasticity.

1.4 percent of the population suffers from sorts of speech disorders and they experience a lower life-expectancy in part due to lack of expression. Improvement of lives of millions of people can be done by giving them a means of communicating.. Most literate people now have smartphones which are essentially processing powerhouses. A huge percentage of people from the middle and lower classes of developing countries are unable to buy standard devices for speech production because they retail at over thousands of dollars. Most low cost prototypes are created in such a way that they either have high independent costs (For just the system) or they are restrictive for motion and aren’t accurate enough for day to day usage. The lowest priced prototype right now costs INR 12,000+ and the lowest priced commercial alternative costs INR 30,000+