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The Orii Ring Designed by Hong Kong Based Start-Up Seeks to Aid Visually Impaired

The Orii ring is expected to reach the commercial market by February

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The Orii ring
The Orii ring aims to help visually impaired people. Wikimedia
  • The Orii ring was inspired by Peter Wong, the visually impaired father of the firm’s co-founder Kevin Wong
  • It ensures that only the user can hear the information conveyed by the ring
  • The Orii ring is expected to reach the commercial market by February

A voice in your ear at the touch of a hand?

The Orii ring allows people to take phone calls, handle text messages and interact with a phone’s digital assistant, all by transferring sound to a user’s ear through bone conduction.

The ring, designed by Hong Kong-based start-up Origami Labs, was inspired by Peter Wong, the visually impaired father of the firm’s co-founder Kevin Wong.

“As a visually impaired person, I rely on the software on the smartphone to read the icons, the texts to me,” said Peter Wong, who is a technical adviser for the ring.

Origami Labs co-founder Emile Chan poses with an Orii smart ring at Hong Kong Cyberport in Hong Kong, China, Aug. 3, 2017.

A key feature ensures that only the user can hear the information conveyed by the ring.

“Can you imagine it reading out your password? That’s inconvenient and inappropriate,” Peter Wong said.

What began as a Kickstarter project has become the latest example of wearable, screen-free technology.

“We want to keep our heads up, we want to be able to stay more in the moment,” said Kevin Wong, 29, who set up Origami Labs in November 2015 with three friends from university.

[sociallocker][/sociallocker]

Orii smart rings with various colors are displayed in this illustration photo, at Origami Labs at Hong Kong Cyberport in Hong Kong, China, Aug. 3, 2017.

The tech wearable market grew 51 percent in Asia last year, according to consumer research firm GfK. The overall industry is expected to be worth $34 billion globally by 2020, research provider CCS Insight has said.

The Orii ring is expected to reach the commercial market by February.

(VOA)

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Meet Saif Ahmad Khan: ‘Save the Quest’ NGO Founder makes Education more flexible for Specially-Abled and Unprivileged Children in India

The story is about Save the Quest, an NGO that works for the upliftment and sustainability of the specially abled

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-by Chetna Karnani

The modern metropolitan Indian is a frequent visitor to restaurants and multiplexes. But how many of us have given a thought to it whether such places are friendly to specially-abled people? 

In an exclusive interview with Reporter Chetna Karnani of NewsGram Team, Saif Ahmad Khan, founder of ‘Save the Quest’ NGO, discusses his ideas and shares his thoughts on how Education can change the fate of the specially-abled and unprivileged children  in India.

It was not long ago when ‘Save the Quest‘, an independent NGO in New Delhi came into being in order to make this world a better place for the specially abled. Established by Saif Ahmad Khan during his graduation days, ‘Save the Quest’ works towards the quality education and upliftment of specially-abled and underprivileged children in Delhi and Bihar. A success story like none other, Save the Quest shatters the preconceived notions of the society that NGOs these days are mere glamorous means to acquire financial gains in the name of social work.

Save the Quest at a feast with orphan children during Ramadan
Save the Quest at a feast with orphan children during Ramadan. Image source: Save the Quest

Before its inception in 2013, Saif has worked with various NGOs like ‘Save the Children’ and has also carried out social work since his childhood. “The only driving force for me to start this organisation was to turn my passion into profession. When Swine Flu was a serious problem in India, I used to make posters and stick them around the school to raise awareness among students and make them conscious about this issue. This is how it all began.

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Everyone comes across children begging at street lights but anyone hardly pays any heed to their condition. It is usually not out of choice that these children take up begging instead of spending their childhood amidst books and carefree play. Saif, back in his hometown Patna, once approached these children and began his pursuit to impart them quality education. “Bringing children to a school is not a problem. The real challenge is to sustain their interest.

As a result, I started with showing them cartoon films and giving away sweets at the end of the class. And slowly I shifted to educational videos so that they got basic knowledge like alphabets while enjoying these videos”, says Khan, whose aim was to bring schools to children who could not go to a school.

Meals during studies
Meals during studies. Image source: Save the Quest

Beginning with only six children at first, this mobile school now reaches remote rural parts of Bihar where there are either no schools or where female literacy is almost zero.

Most underprivileged children have mid-day meals as the only motivation to go to schools, and this directly hampers the quality of education. Students who wish to study sincerely are not provided with adequate facilities to study, or are simply victims of poverty and submit to their condition. Therefore, in an attempt to change the face of the Indian education system, Saif’s team initially builds strong relationships with these children so that learning also contributes to their growth and helps them groom.

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Apart from that, the NGO is also associated with a Delhi based orphanage (name withheld) that requires the sponsorship for these children’s education. There are challenges like fundraising and seeking guardianship that every NGO faces.

One of the awareness campaigns carried out by the NGO
“I PLEDGE”, one of the awareness campaigns carried out by the NGO. Image source: Save the Quest

“Problems began with the mere thought of starting an NGO. My family and friends were earlier hesitant to support since the students’ stationery and other expenses were met from my savings. Today we need sponsors for around 500 children, and if each person contributes a small amount of 400 per month, their overall development expenses can be met,” said Saif.

The children are also introduced with sports, and are also taught chess. For his personal contribution towards eradicating disability as an outlawed issue which only attracts sympathy but no substantial help, Saif has sponsored the development of a girl child who is on wheelchair. A very active 8 year old child, says Khan, who is now determined to prepare her for Paralympics to be held in 2026 and is currently trying to find a coach for her.

Saif has also published a book within a team of 12 students named ‘Opportunities and Barriers for Students with Disabilities’ under the research of University of Delhi.

Besides children, the NGO also runs employability training for the blind and differently abled, for they believe that the most important means to their stability is their financial independence. Ishant Rajput, 24, is associated with the NGO since its beginning and was trained regarding basic computer qualifications. Ishant is now a successful graduate and is preparing for competitive exams.

'The Band'
‘The Band’. Image source: Save the Quest

“It is students like Ishant who make me realise that the words disability and difficulty are not related at all. Disability is just a social contruct and it is our duty to create a barrier-free existence for these children”, claims the founder chairperson of Save the Quest.

"A walk for the Visually Impaired" held in University of Delhi
“A Walk for the Visually Impaired” held in University of Delhi. Image source: Save the Quest

Save the Quest has helped more than five thousand visually impaired children in the past three years and has organised sensitisation and fund raising campaigns.

For any information on volunteering or to donate, you may contact Saif through:
Phone: 08585907442
E-mail: saif.stq@gmail.com
Website: www.savethequest.org

Chetna is a reporter at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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5 top Indian art and cultural festivals of February

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By Ekta Mal

 

India in February means, the last leg of winters as the cold is preparing to leave the country. During this time, a lot of festivals take place in our country highlighting the arts and culture of the country. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Surajkund International Crafts Mela

Into its 30th year this year, the Surajkund crafts mela showcases the finest handlooms, handicrafts, and Indian cuisine. Over 400 artisans display and demonstrate their crafts from all over India and the world. There are also cultural programs and an amusement zone for children. The mela has a different theme every year. This year the state Telangana  has been chosen to be the theme state.

When: February 1-15 each year

Where: Surajkund, in the Faridabad district a short distance from South Delhi. It’s around 35 minutes drive from the Delhi airport.

2. Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

The Kala Ghoda arts festival  is a nine-day extravaganza  that sees Mumbai’s  Kala Ghoda Arts Precinct  transformed into an open air exhibition space and stage show. This vibrant street festival  includes arts and crafts exhibitions, seminars, dance, music, theatre, heritage walks, and special events for children. The great thing about it is that it’s free!

When: February 6-14,2016

Where: Kala Ghoda Arts Precinct, Fort, Mumbai

  1. Goa Carnival

The colourful Goa carnival, which began as a local feast by the Portuguese in the 18th century, has developed into the state’s most famous event. During the festival, the streets come alive with parades, floats, music, and masked dances. It culminates with the Red and Black Dance, a formal ball in Panaji, where the dress code is red and black. The festivities kick off with a Food and culture festival in Panaji.

When: February 6-9,2016

Where: The carnival moves from city to city(Panaji, Vasco, Mapusa) in Goa. The Parade starts out from Panaji.

  1. Taj Mahotsav

The Taj Mahotsav takes place at Shilpgram in Agra, right near the eastern entry gate to the Taj Mahal. The focus of this festival is on arts, crafts, Indian culture and recreating the Mughal era. It gets underway with a spectacular procession that includes elephants, camels and drummers. Elephant and camel  rides are on offer and there are also games for the kids and a food festival. The venue has special significance, as it’s apparently located on the site where the artisans who built the Taj Mahal once lived. A full programme of events is available on the website.

When: February 18-27 each year

Where: Agra, Uttar Pradesh

  1. Jaisalmer Desert Festival

This exuberant desert festival is a wonderful opportunity to experience the sandstone city of Jaisalmer at its magical best. A parade of camels and fancily dressed locals, camel races and polo matches, turban tying competitions, competitions for the finest facial hair, acrobats, puppeteers and jugglers are all part of this amusing festival.

When: February 20-22, 2016

Where: Jaisalmer Rajasthan

 

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Indian-origin boy working with Microsoft to launch low-cost Braille printer ‘Braigo’ in November

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Shubham Banerjee, a 13-year-old Indian-origin boy, who had invented a low cost portable Braille printer using his Lego toys, is working with IT giant Microsoft to integrate his invention with Windows to make it easily accessible to the visually impaired.

Shubham is an eighth grade student of Santa Clara school in California. He has already started his own company Braigo Labs, which made him the youngest entrepreneur of the world.

His mother Malini is the president of the company and father Neil is Shubham’s mentor.

“I discovered that typical Braille printers cost about $2,000 (about Rs 126,000) or even more, and I felt that was unnecessarily expensive for someone already at a disadvantage,” Banerjee said.

“So, I put my brain to work, and the first thing that came to mind was to create an alternative using my favorite toy,” he added.

The new printer is cheap and consumer friendly, and is 75% lower in price than that of the existing ones.

He has also got an invitation from Microsoft to showcase his new printer Braigo 2.0.

“Our relationship with Microsoft will help Braigo achieve a seamless experience for a visually-impaired person who wants to use a computer at home or at the office to print documents for offline reading,” said Banerjee.

“Also, think about the banks, the government institutions or even the libraries where Windows-based computers are widely used. They will all benefit from having a Braigo to provide accessibility services to their visually impaired customers,” he added.

According to a report, the new product will be available in the market soon with a price tag of $500.