THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It comes as a double delight for blind students of the National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH), Akkulam as the institute’s library has been equipped with assistive technology devices and services, that too on the occasion of World Sight Day on Thursday.
The technological upgrading was done as part of the implementation of the Scheme for Implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (SIPDA) under the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Many software and devices will enable the visually impaired to access the library’s database and enjoy the books like others.
According to the academic librarian Tomy Varghese, the new devices are designed and implemented in a way that any blind student can walk freely into the library and enjoy reading books or browse the computer provided there for academic purposes. The facilities are based on audio, tactile and video mediums to communicate directly to the blind reader. Assisting the students to browse the computer is the software Job Access With Speech, which is talking computer software.
It reads out all the matter that is on the computer’s screen through the computer’s speakers/headphones, thus enabling a visually challenged person to use the computer independently and work on all Microsoft Windows applications. For those who wish to read a book from the library, the PEARL Open Book Reader will scan the books and understand them through audio.
The third application is a Braille Reader, a portable device known as Orbit Reader 20 through which readers can understand the contents of the book in tactile output. The fourth service will help those with colour blindness and who have low vision. It is a Pocket-Size Video Magnifier for helping persons with low vision to read or view independently. The new advanced library is also open to guide the visually impaired personnel outside the institute.