05 May

IIT Delhi launches SmartCaneTMto assistvisually impaired to detectabove-the-knee obstacles


Smart-Cane-iCareINFO-May-2014The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi’s  Assistive Technologies Group (ASSISTech) is proud to announce the launch of the SmartCaneTM device; an innovative and affordable navigation aid enabling safe mobility for the visually impaired.

According tothe World Health Organisation, 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide, with 90% residing in developing countries. India is home for 12 million peoplewith blindness, the largest for any country in the world (2011 census data).

Developed jointly with Saksham Trust and Phoenix Medical Systems, with funding received from the Wellcome Trust (UK), the SmartCaneTMhelps users detect all obstaclesabove the knee-level.Utilising modern sensor technology, this device detects obstructions up to a distance of 3 metres and is compatible with the standard folding white cane currently used by millions of visually impaired people across the globe. Further, the SmartCaneTMdevice removes the need for physical contact with the cane in order to detect obstacles in the immediate environment. At times, accidentally touching or poking a stray animal or another human with a cane could lead to an unpleasant response.

The cost of SmartCaneTM, inclusive of distribution and training costs is Rs. 3000 while comparable navigational devices globally cost Rs. 65000 or more. Notwithstanding its affordable price tag, the manufacturer i.e. Phoenix Medical Systems, Chennai has ensured that the device meets global standards in terms of quality and reliability. Saksham Trust has developed an extensive distribution partner network, geographically spread across India for spreading awareness, training as well as after-sale support.

The various features of SmartCaneTMhave been driven by end-users’ input on their needs and then ratified through extensive field trials with over 150 users. Talking about the product, Dr Rohan Paul, who has played a key role in the development of the SmartCaneTMdevice, said “Blindness is not just a medical condition but possesses the larger dimensions of social exclusion, stigma and neglect. Blind people are often taken by surprise by over-hanging branches, protruding air-conditioners and parked vehicleswhile navigating through unfamiliar terrain. SmartCaneTMwarns the user of such objects in their path through a unique system of vibratory patterns, designed to detectpotential obstacles even at head height.”

Professor M Balakrishnan, Department of Computer Science& Engineeringwho along with Professor PVM Rao of Mechanical Engineering Department leads the ASSISTech activities, said, “I strongly believe that role of organizations like IIT is to promote technology-based entrepreneurship so that the country develops quality products that find mass acceptance not only in India but globally.”

Dr Diana Tay, Business Development Manager for Technology Transfer at the Wellcome Trust said “The SmartCane™ is a mobility aid device that will have a positive impact on the day-to-day activities of the visually impaired in India and possibly further afield.  The cross-disciplinary team approach behind the SmartCane™ has enabled the successful delivery of this technology to the marketplace.”  The Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation, provided a research grant of around £450,000 under the“Affordable Healthcare in India”schemefor translational research on SmartCane™.

Mr DipendraManocha, Director of SakshamTrust and Delhi-President of National Association of Blind, has provided research and marketing support through its network of organizations. Phoenix Medical Systems, India’s leading manufacturer of medical devices for infant and maternity care is the industrial partner of SmartCane™, providing industrial R&D support and executing the manufacturing process.

05 Dec

Rights provide an opportunity to take step towards progress


Conversation with Prasanna Kumar Pincha as the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, India by Divya Sahu

iCareInfo-P-K-Pincha-December-2013Change in the situation of disable persons (especially blinds) after the 66 years of Independence.
Lots of changes is being observed during last 66 years. In comparison to time before 66 years ago, presently there are numerous opportunities of safety, right, training etc for blind people
At national level, four laws are existing for the help of disable persons. The law of year 1995 talk about the rights of disable persons, a national committee was formed. This law is for such disable or handicapped persons who are dependent on others. There is separate law for mentally retarded, however there is possibility of formation of new law. Mental Health Care bill is being presented in parliament, and it will be more progressive. Apart from this Indian Rehabilitation Council law is also there.
There four laws are proving fruitful for the handicapped persons. Many schemes are also launched, a separate department is there in the government.
India has also signed and promoted the act prepared by Soviet Union regarding the rights of handicapped people. According to this act, there should be change in all laws and policies related to this. Most probably this bill can be presented in parliament during winter session.
However , many more things have to be done for betterment of these people, but it will be wrong saying that nothing has been done so far.
These laws had been proved beneficial to which extent. Did the representation of handicapped is being seen in society.
No doubt, these laws had proved fruitful. These people had got social safety and smooth environment. According to this law, it is necessary to provide education to disable child till age of 18 in smooth and safe environment which will be free of cost and children are getting benefitted also
Poverty Eradication - Under this scheme there is provision of 3% reservation and it had proved successful also. However, it can be said that these laws are not being implemented properly, most of the places appointment is not done in reserved seats. Backlog is still in existence. But it is true people has become aware and movement is observed. It is necessary to develop sensitivity in burocacy.

How these rights bring change in life?
These laws have brought lots of changes in disable people life. Now there are imparting their duties in society equally and it is possible only because of these rights , as it provide an opportunity to take step towards progress.
If any one feels that he is deprived of rights, he or she can appeal in front of Chief Handicapped Commissioner of Central Government. State related cases be present before the state government. Apart from this, they can appeal in lok adalats and people are going also.

Act 2012 regarding Handicaps is under process and is different from Act of 1995. Now it has to be seen how much effective it would be?
First of all, it is required to know why this act is being formed. As the India has signed the bill with Soviet Union and promoted also , it means law has to be amended.
This changes would come in laws of main stream also, on points mentioned in the bill. For example in education field, the laws regarding right to education for handicap will be amended, so that education disability should be friendly. It is expected to done soon.
If we talk in whole, there would change in social, economical and cultural rights of disable persons , and civil and political rights would be additional.
Secondly, in present existing law, only seven awards for disabled are recognized, whereas in new law this figure would increase to 17-18 awards and large number of disabled would be benefited.

Any incident showing the benefit of these rights.
There are several incidents regarding it, as many exams are being held throughout the country for job and education, in which there was no similarity in rights of disables as compare to normal candidates. If any blind candidate required writer during the exam it was not available. Most of the exams they were able to get writes and at some places no.
As there are different rules in different places, when the complaints was being received , I thought of taking step in this direction. As the Chief Commissioner do not frame policies but before my working period a detail guidelines was prepared and forwarded to government and it was not being implemented.
I received the complaint in my office and I issued a show cause notice to Department of Disability Affairs. Hearing was held and ordered to implement the above guidelines in desired period, so that blind candidates should not face during exams. Later on those guidelines was implemented by Monitory of social Justice and Empowerment and it was good. Now the employer are bound to follow it. But still many more changes are required.

26 Nov

Diabetic Retinopathy : What does Allopathy says


Conversation regarding diabetic retinopathy with Dr Punit Gupta from Delhi by Divya Sahu

How you see the diabetes diseases in terms of eyes?
Presently in India, diseases related to life style is being increasing day by day and this is the reason for diabetes also. If the problems related to diabetes increases its harms nerves and give rise to heart problems. In similar the dangerous affect of diabetes is seen on eyes. The effect of diabetes caused on retina is called diabetic retinopathy. As the diabetes is increasing among people, the diabetic retinopathy cases are also being seen among people.


How the diabetic retinopathy does harm our body?
The vision capacity of eyes is affected due to diabetic retinopathy, but if the patients gets the proper treatment in time, it can be cured otherwise patient had to face its serious consequences, a person can become blind also.

How much effective is the development done for the prevention of eye diseases caused due to diabetes in medical science?
Most important thing is that Retina specialists do the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, now these specialists are present in large number in our country. Earlier they were only few. We have progressed in eye check-up n treatment only due to the progress of medical science. Retina specialists carries the angiography of eyes of the patient followed by scanning of retina, due to which the changes occurred in eyes due to diabetes can be detected.

During the treatment the diabetes patient is thoroughly checked, eye checkup is incomplete without the scanning of retina.
There are various ways of treatment of this disease but laser treatment plays an important role in this direction. Special injections are also available which are kept in anti vascular endothelial growth fact group and it is available in our country. If any patient comes in such condition whose eyes can/t be cured in such condition the surgery of eye membrane can be done to save retina, and this can be done only by retina specialists.

Most important point is to detect or check the diabetes and diabetic retinopathy in time. When the patient approaches doctor late, eyes can’t be cured properly this is possible by giving the treatment at initial stage. Many times the patients make delay in approaching doctor for treatment in such situation it becomes impossible for us to cure.

How is the future for the treatment of this disease for the people suffering from blindness.
Medical science had progressed a lot. If we go 22 years back, we can find that the patients used to become blind in doctor’s presence and doctors were helpless to stop this. But presently doctors are capable to some extent to bring vision back. We hope a better treatment facility in coming days in medical science.

Which type of life style is suitable to prevent diabetes and diabetic retinopathy?
Every person should remain aware regarding diabetes. Diabetes can be controlled with the help of physician doctors. If diabetes is kept in control, eye problems can be reduced. Most important fact, that if a person is suffering from diabetes it is must to consult eye doctor. It is necessary to consult eye specialists once in a year even if no problem exists. Generally when the person is unable to see properly or problem in vision, they go to eye doctor, but by that time retina is badly affected due to diabetes. If the diabetes patients concern the eye specialists in initial stage, he can be prevented from becoming blind. And apart from this it is necessary to bring changes in our life style, food habits and do regular exercise.

13 Oct

सारे समाज का डर दृष्टिहीन लड़कियां क्यों भुगतें


अधिकतर दृष्टिहीन लड़कियां सामाजिक दबाव और डर से घर में बैठी होती हैं। उन्हें पता नहीं होता है कि दुनिया में क्या हो रहा है। ऐसे में वह अपनी पूरी पहचान खो चुकी होती है इस मानसिक समस्या से बाहर निकालना बड़ा मुश्किल होता है। आखिर कब तक वह डर के साए में रहेगी और कब स्वावलंबी हो पाएगी। जब माता पिता बुजुर्ग हो जाते हैं तो समझ आता है कि स्वावलंबन कितना जरूरी है। लेकिन तब तक काफी कीमती वक्त बीत जाता है।

माता-पिता अपना डर दृष्टिहीन लड़कियों पर न थोपें तो बेहतर होगा। उन्हें डर लगता है कि बेटी बाहर कैसे जाएगी। प्रशिक्षण के बाद दृष्टिहीन लड़कियां ज्यादा सफल हो जाती हैं। कई बार तो ऐसा देखा गया है कि अकेली लड़की ही पूरे गांव में पढ़ पाई। क्योंकि परिवार ने उसे दृष्टिहीन बच्चों के स्कूल में भेजा।

शालिनी खन्ना, निदेशक, नेशनल एसोसिएशन फॅार दि ब्लांइड (वूमेन), नई दिल्ली से दिव्या साहू की बातचीत

दृष्टिहीन युवतियों को कैसे आत्मनिर्भर बनाया जा सकता है।

बहुत सारी लड़कियां जो पहले देख पाती थीं, लेकिन तकरीबन 16-17 साल की उम्र में नत्नहीन हो गईं। अब वह नहीं देख पाती हैं। परिवारवालों ने लगातार घर में रखा और इसकी वजह से उनका खुद पर विश्वास खत्म हो चुका होता है। उन्हें भरोसा नहीं होता कि बिना देखे वह खुद अकेली सड़क पर चल पाएगी, रसोई में आग और छुरी के साथ काम कर पाएगीं। दृष्टिहीन युवतियों को यह सब सिखाना स्वावलंबन के लिए बहुत जरूरी है।
सबसे पहले उन्हें अकेले घर का काम और सड़क पर चलने का प्रशिक्षिण दिया जाना चाहिए। उन्हें मानसिक तौर पर अपना काम खुद करने की कोशिश करने के लिए तैयार किया जाये। हालांकि यह सब सीखने में उन्हें लंबा वक्त लगता है।
आजकल की मॉडर्न शिक्षा भी दृष्टिहीन लड़कियों व महिलाओं को दी जानी चाहिए। ऐसा प्रशिक्षण, जिससे उन्हें रोजगार मिल सके। इसके लिए कम्प्यूटर, रिसर्च की ट्रेनिंग भी दी जा सकती है। वे जिस क्षेत्न में चाहें, उन्हें प्रशिक्षण मिल सकता हैं। जो लड़कियां बिलकुल पढ़ी-लिखी नहीं होती हैं, उन्हें हैंडीक्र ाफ्ट का हुनर सिखाया जा सकता है। हाल ही में मसाज-स्पा का प्रशिक्षण शुरू किया है। स्पा की बहुत डिमांड है। खास बात है कि दृष्टिहीन लोगों में सीखने का कौशल बेहद ज्यादा होता है। वह बारीकी से हर चीज को महसूस कर लेते हैं। प्रशिक्षण के बाद ज्यादातर लड़कियां व महिलाओं को रोजगार मिल जाता है।

दृष्टिहीन लड़कियां भी समाज का हिस्सा हैं, उनके विकास के लिए क्या करने की जरूरत है?

सबसे पहले तो आप दृष्टिहीन लड़कियों पर विश्वास करें कि वह भी सामान्य तौर पर काम कर सकती हैं। यदि आपके घर में कोई दुर्घटनावश दृष्टिहीन हो गया या जन्म से दृष्टिहीन पैदा हुआ तो समाज में बराबरी से ध्यान देने की जरूरत है, खासकर लड़कियों का। सबसे पहले यह बात मन से निकालनी होगी कि यदि आपको दिखाई नहीं, देता है तो दुनिया ही खत्म हो गई। यदि आप खुद के लिए ऐसा सोच सकेंगे तभी दृष्टिहीन लड़कियों को उसकी पहचान दिला पाएंगे।
मेरा अनुभव है कि ट्रेनिंग के बाद दृष्टिहीन लड़कियां ज्यादा सफल हो जाती हैं। कई बार तो ऐसा देखा गया है कि अकेली लड़की ही पूरे गांव में पढ़ पाई। क्योंकि परिवार ने उसे दृष्टिहीन बच्चों के स्कूल में भेजा। लेकिन जब वह घर वापस लौटती है तो किसी काम की नहीं रहती है। इसकी वजह है परिवार की मानसिकता। मां-बाप उसे घर में कोई काम नहीं करने देते हैं। न ही उसकी शादी के बारे में सोचते हैं। हमने यहां तक देखा है कि मानिसक रूप से कमजोर लड़के की शादी में दहेज में दृष्टिहीन लड़की दे दी गई। घर में किसी काम का नहीं छोड़ा जाता है। वह इंतजार में रहती है कि घर के लोग आएं और खिलाएं। ऐसे में वह दिन भर भूखी रहती हैं।

भारतीय परिप्रेक्ष्य में दृष्टिहीन लड़कियों का क्या भविष्य है।

मुङो दृष्टि वाली और दृष्टिहीन लड़कियों में कोई फर्क महसूस नहीं होता है। यदि लड़कियों को पढ़ने और आगे बढ़ने का मौका दें, तो वह लड़कों से आगे रहती हैं। मेरा अनुभव रहा है कि लड़कियों को प्रशिक्षण देने पर 120 प्रतिशत रिजल्ट मिलता है। दरअसल, ऐसी लड़कियां इतना ट्रोमा ङोल चुकी होती हैं कि, वह स्वावलंबी बनने में पूरी ताकत लगा देती हैं। हमने कई एक्सपोर्ट फैक्ट्रियों में नेत्नहीन लड़कियों को काम पर लगवाया है। वे सफलता पूर्वक काम कर रही हैं। बिहार व यूपी के रूरल इलाकों से भी कई युवितयां आई और उन्होंने ओपेन स्कूलिंग कर ग्रेजुएशन किया। इसके बाद बीएड कर अपने इलाके में शिक्षक बन गई।

समाज में लड़कियों को दबा कर रखा जाता है, ऐसे में सुरक्षा के लिए क्या प्रयास हों?

हम सभी के लिए सबसे बड़ी परेशानी है कि अब तक लड़कियों व महिलाओं के सुरक्षा बड़ा मुद्दा बना हुआ है। हम दृष्टिहीन युवितयों को मार्शल आर्ट की ट्रेनिंग देते हैं, ताकि वह आत्मरक्षा कर सकें। हमने उन्हें जानकारी दी हुई है, कि परेशानी होने पर कहां फोन करें। मेट्रो में सफर सुरिक्षत रहता है, हां बसों में अभी भी दिक्कत है।

दृष्टिबाधित लड़कियां क्या तकनीकि गैजेट्स का भी इस्तेमाल भी करती हैं?

जिस तरह आप कम्प्यूटर सीखते हैं, वैसे ही दृष्टिहीन लोग भी कम्प्यूटर सीखते हैं। अब तो मोबाइल में भी सॉफ्टवेयर डालकर दृष्टिहीन लड़कियां बहुत अच्छी तरह इसका प्रयोग कर सकती हैं। तकनीकि गैजेट्स अभी भी बहुत महंगे हैं, इसलिए उस लड़की के परिवार की आर्थिक स्थिति पर निर्भर करता है कि वह खुद के लिए कौन सा गैजेट ले पाती है। घर की रसोई में भी गजेट्स हैं। उदाहरण के तौर पर माइक्र ोवेब। इसका इस्तेमाल वह बहुत अच्छी तरह करती हैं।