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IIT-Delhi Collaborates With Indiana University To Help Visually Impaired

The new approach can be used for exploring semantic communication, developing fun tactile game, educational pedagogy, retention and memory

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the collaboration is taking place to develop the tactile graphics. Wikimedia Commons
  • IIT-Delhi and indiana University collaborates to help the visually impaired
  • The collaboration has taken place for the developement of tactile graphics
  • India has largest number of visually impaired people in the world

A three-year collaborative research by IIT-Delhi and Indiana University in the US has led the team to new technologies and cognitive strategies that could improve the lives of the blind and visually impaired (BVI).

The collaboration has resulted in research for the development of a novel new design approach to tactile graphics.

IIT Delhi and Indiana university collaborate to help visually impaired. Pixabay
IIT Delhi and Indiana university collaborate to help visually impaired. Pixabay

“Tactile graphics” — sometimes called as raised line drawings — are two-dimensional images composed of linear and textured design elements raised very slightly above a flat surrounding surface.

“It’s not that what we are doing is attempted for the first time in the world, there are people who have formed similar solutions in the US, Europe, Britain, Japan etc. But the key challenge was to make it cost-efficient for developing countries like India,” M. Balakrishnan, Professor at IIT Delhi, told reporters.

“Tactile diagrams have been here for a long time. While the US-based tactile diagrams cost more than $2 per page, we have produced it for 25 cents and we hope to go further down to 5-7 cents over a period of time,” he added.

According to World Health Organisation estimates, there are 38 million visually impaired people of which 90 per cent of them live in the developing world.

As per 2011 census, India has more than five million visually impaired people – largest for any country.

Out of all the visually impaired people in the world, 90% are in sync with the technicalities of the world. Pixabay
Out of all the visually impaired people in the world, 90% are in sync with the technicalities of the world. Pixabay

Books for visually impaired people are normally completely in Braille text with no accompanying graphical images.

Introduction of low-cost Tactile Graphics will create a noticeable improvement in the quality of education of visually impaired people.

Tactile Graphics generally use a design strategy that distills pictures of objects or scenes into simple contour line drawings.

Also Read: Visually Challenged, yet a Printing Expert: Meet Kalim Iftikar Shaikh of Mumbai

It then translates these into raised lines that blind and visually impaired students trace with their fingers, much as they read Braille.

The new approach can be used for exploring semantic communication, developing fun tactile game, educational pedagogy, retention and memory. IANS

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This New Device Helps in Capturing and Identifying Virus

New device to capture and identify viruses developed

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Virus device
Researchers have developed a fast and inexpensive handheld device that can capture virus. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Researchers have developed a device to quickly capture and identify various strains of virus.

“We have developed a fast and inexpensive handheld device that can capture viruses based on size,” said study researcher Mauricio Terrones from Penn State University.

“Our device uses arrays of nanotubes engineered to be comparable in size to a wide range of viruses. We then use Raman spectroscopy to identify the viruses based on their individual vibration,” Terrones added.

This device, called a VIRRION, has a wide range of possible uses. For farmers, for example, early detection of a virus in the field can save an entire crop. Early detection of a virus in livestock can save a herd from illness. Humans also will benefit by the detection of viruses in minutes rather than in days with current methods.

According to the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, because of its size and low cost, such a device would be useful in every doctor’s office as well as in remote locations when disease outbreaks occur.

virus device
The device uses arrays of nanotubes engineered to be comparable in size to a wide range of viruses. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Currently, virologists estimate that 1.67 million unknown viruses are in animals, a number of which can be transmitted to humans. Known viruses, such as H5N1, Zika and Ebola have caused widespread illness and death.

The World Health Organisation states that early detection can halt virus spread by enabling rapid deployment of countermeasures. “Most current techniques require large and expensive pieces of equipment,” Terrones said.

“The VIRRION is a few centimeters across. We add gold nanoparticles to enhance the Raman signal so that we are able to detect the virus molecule in very low concentrations. We then use machine learning techniques to create a library of virus types,” Terrones added.

According to the researchers, the VIRRION enables the rapid enrichment of virus particles from any type of sample — environmental or clinical — which jump-starts viral characterisation. This has applications in virus emergence, virus discovery and in diagnosis.

“We synthesized a gradient of aligned carbon nanotube forest arrays to capture different viruses according to their size and detect them in-situ using Raman spectroscopy,” said study lead author Ying-Ting Yeh.

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“We designed and assembled a portable platform that enriches virus particles from several milliliters of clinical samples in a couple of minutes,” Ting Yeh added.

“We hope to use this device for the capture and sequencing of single virions, giving us a much better handle on the evolution of the virus in real time,” said Elodie Ghedin from New York University. (IANS)