Sahaj Software Solutions showcase ‘Samvid’ -assistive technology for visually impaired
The plight of being visually impaired and differently-abled is something which only those undergoing the ordeal would understand. Right from doing their daily chores to simple things like boarding a bus if they have to go somewhere, they are dependent on others. Very few among us can only imagine how difficult simple tasks like boarding a bus can become in the absence of good eyesight. In a bid to address the needs of visually impaired people and providing them certain kind of independence, Bangalore based Sahaj Software Solutions has come up with an assistive technology called ‘Samvid’ for the visually impaired people to locate and board the right bus at the right time.
Samvid was launched in Bengaluru on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 to mark the International Day of People with Disabilities. Speaking to Techspirit, Mr Sunder Malyandi, Co-founder, Sahaj Software Solutions said: “Sahaj’s efforts on the product,“Samvid”, is an attempt to address this very challenge through a simple, cost effective, easy-to-use product that would assist people with visual impairment to identify the bus, or any other public transport, that they wish to board, with ease, and without having to depend on others, thereby retaining their independence.”
It was through observation and speaking to people with visual impairment who were travelling in bus over a period of time that members of Sahaj came up with this brilliant idea. Mr Sunder said: “The visually impared people face difficulty in identifying the right bus to board, they usually end up asking people for help but often refrain from doing so primarily due to shyness and a feeling of not wanting to disturb others. This way they often end up missing buses and then wait for another bus for hours.”
Even the visually impaired people love their independence. While speaking to few of them they told us that they long for a way to be independent just the same way as they have their independence in many other of their activities. This led us to think of some simple, easy-to-use and affordable solution. Hence, we came up with Samvid, he further added.
Samvid has been a result of extensive research and concept trials. Samvid provides a simple solution using a combination of mobile and blue tooth technologies. It consists of just two parts- a low energy beacon on the bus allowing the bus to radiate its presence and a receiving device which can interact when in range and notify the person with audio feedback. The receiving device can either be a phone with the Samvid app running or a customer wearable device would also allow the visually impaired to change his/her bus number or destination so that he/she can be notified when the right bus arrives.
Moreover, Samvid can cater not only to the needs of people with visual impairment but also to the elderly and people unfamiliar with the local language. For this project, Sahaj has worked in close co-ordination with Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, especially for the field trials. “It does not require a smart phone, the technology works even in a simple phone with minimum viable requirement. We would be talking to the Transport Department, IT companies and manufacturing industries to take this forward so that it reaches to a wider group of visually impaired people” Mr Sunder said.
Speaking about the initiative Mr. Mahantesh GK, Founder Managing Trustee Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled expressed his joy on the initiative and said “several years ago when I used to commute by buses my biggest challenge was not to miss a bus, especially the ones that are not frequently available. I would end up wasting a lot of time in identifying the right one. I know that students in our hostels continue to face such challenges even today. I am also aware that many people with visual impairments prefer staying closer to their homes and thereby lose out on better opportunities due to these challenges. I hope and believe that a solution like this can go a long way in helping them realise their true potential.”