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    autistic children to help them learn and communicate The first of its kind ICT activity lab for children with autism and other disabilities has been opened in the capital city Image credits Express Buzz Lab for autistic children launched The lab has been set up entirely on Free Software by Insight which aims to use Information and Communication Technology ICT for the development of the differently abled in the State The lab was inaugurated by Vivek a physically challenged boy on Saturday on the occasion of the International Software Freedom Day 2009 The lab has been set up at the Insight office at Vellayambalam here and will be open to public except on Sundays Educational software have been found to be useful in building learning capabilities and communication skills of autistic children The programme seeks to explore the use of various digital technologies to enhance learning and communication of children with disabilities Educational software such as GCompris and programming interfaces such as Scratch have been found to be very useful in building the learning capabilities and communication skills of autistic children As of now the lab is an experimental one We will monitor the way children use these softwares What are the activities that distract them or interest them will be located and documented and with the added suggestions from parents and doctors new custom software will be developed It is time consuming and a constant programme said James Mathew Insight co ordinator There are many children with autism who find it hard to maintain direct eye contact The lab will try to develop simple games through which such children will learn to establish eye contact Similarly autistic children show love to certain animals so games using these animal figures will be developed James said Insight has been providing the

    Original URL path: http://www.digitalopportunity.org/news/india-launches-ict-lab-for-disabled-children/?searchterm=None (2016-02-17)
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    India are being readied for use by blind customers for most banking transactions Amitabh Kumar general manager alternate channels at SBI said the bank has completed a pilot project for ATM while the software to internet banking for visually challenged is in place Both the projects will be implemented in a month s time he said while speaking at a seminar on banking access for visually challenged organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries CII The move to do so follows a dictate from RBI to banks early this year that all its branches and ATMs should be made accessible to persons with disabilities RBI had also said banks should make at least one third of new ATMs installed as talking ATMs with braille keypads and place them strategically in consultation with other banks to ensure that at least one talking ATM with Braille keypad is generally available in each locality for catering to needs of visually impaired persons Banks may also bring the locations of such talking ATMs to the notice of their visually impaired customers Speaking on the sidelines of the seminar Kumar said of its 18 000 ATM its 7 000 ATMs would be accessible to the visually disabled However it has not yet activated since the bank has issued special debit card to the visually impaired to access these ATMs However he could not indicate the number of cards that the bank is likely to issue since the bank does not have the data on the number of visually impaired banking with them He indicated that the bank has been in talks with both NCR and Diebold the two ATM providers to procure the such ATMs With regards to internet banking Kumar said they have also acquired a software called Jaws to enable internet banking for

    Original URL path: http://www.digitalopportunity.org/news/atms-to-become-blindfriendly-in-india/?searchterm=None (2016-02-17)
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    gathered could mean for instance that the sensors can work out whether residents are eating normally From electricity consumption movement to chair and bed occupation the aim is to determine a resident s normal behaviour Based on the activity of the equipment we can realise what is the real activity of the person in the sense of the daily activity said Alain Anfosso from CSTB Gerhome The interest of this analysis of sensors is to understand if the activity is normal he said Image credits BBC An amount of privacy is traded off for freedom to stay at home The system can detect the slight changes in natural rhythms that can give doctors and carers early warning of possible trouble ahead Eric Pascual from CSTB Gerhome said the monitoring should not be seen as an emergency system but a chance to act on a person s health deterioration Some kinds of evolutions such as sleeping periods for instance can be a sign of some kind of weakness he said He added that many factors were taken into account including changing sleep patterns and meals varying with each season Software used to analyse raw data can tell if someone is in trouble if they can bend or stretch normally or if they are changing their usual routine Image credits BBC Eric Pascual said monitoring could loosen links within families Video monitoring also gives doctors an objective way of assessing the significance if any in a change of behaviour For example people waking up during the night it is not just important to know they are getting up but why they are doing it explained Francois Bremond from the national institute for research in computer science and control INRIA Sometimes they go to the bathroom and sometimes they are in erratic motion

    Original URL path: http://www.digitalopportunity.org/spotlight/watching-while-you-work-and-play/?searchterm=None (2016-02-17)
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    them They re able to get some sort of vision Linda Morfoot 65 of Long Beach California blind for 12 years says she can now toss a ball into a basketball hoop follow her nine grandchildren as they run around her living room and see where the preacher is in church For someone who s been totally blind this is really remarkable said Andrew P Mariani a programme director at the National Eye Institute NEI a US agency Returning vision to the blind They re able to get some sort of vision Scientists involved in the project an artificial retina say they have plans to develop the technology to allow people to read write and recognize faces The project involving patients in the US Mexico and Europe is part of a burst of recent research aimed at one of science s most sought after holy grails making the blind see That goal long seemed out of reach because the visual system of the eye and the brain is so complex But advances in technology genetics brain science and biology are making several approaches both new and long studied more viable Some including the artificial retina are already producing results For a long time scientists and clinicians were very conservative but you have to at some point get out of the laboratory and focus on getting clinical trials in actual humans said Timothy J Schoen director of science and preclinical development for the Foundation Fighting Blindness Remarkable innovations Now there s a real push he said because we ve got a lot of blind people walking around and we ve got to try to help them At least 3 3 million Americans 40 and over or around one in 28 are blind or have vision so poor that even with glasses medicine or surgery everyday tasks are difficult according to NEI That number is expected to double in the next 30 years Worldwide around 160 million people are similarly affected With an ageing population it s obviously going to be an increasing problem said Michael D Oberdorfer who runs the visual neuroscience programme for NEI which finances several sight restoration projects including the artificial retina Wide ranging research is important he said because different methods could help different causes of blindness The approaches include gene therapy which has produced improved vision in people who are blind from one rare congenital disease Stem cell research is considered promising although far from producing results and other studies involve a light responding protein and retinal transplants Others are implanting electrodes in monkeys brains to see if directly stimulating visual areas might allow even people with no eye function to see And recently Sharron Kay Thornton 60 from Smithdale Mississippi blinded by a skin condition regained sight in one eye after doctors at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine extracted a tooth her eyetooth actually shaved it down and used it as a base for a plastic lens replacing her cornea It was

    Original URL path: http://www.digitalopportunity.org/spotlight/technologies-helping-the-blind-see/?searchterm=None (2016-02-17)
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    Blind on International Cane day A new computer centre The centre aims at providing vocational training in Information Technology to the visually impaired along with various soft skill modules In today s times computer knowledge is vital so that the visually challenged too have access to computers paving way for their integration into the society I will definite ensure my support to such a cause said P Satyananarayana Minister for Health who inaugurated the centre Amway Opportunity Foundation AOF a registered Non Governmental Organisation NGO that looks after Amway India s Corporate Social Responsibility CSR set up the computer centre for the visually challenged in partnership with Devnar Foundation for the Blind Additionally to mark the International White Cane day AOF donated 150 white canes to the visually challenged students of Devnar Foundation Devnar Foundation is one of the best institutions recognised by the Andhra Pradesh Government should work towards excellence with the given opportunity said Chaya Ratan Secretary Women Development Child and Disabled Welfare of AP She added that the government was willing to give recognition to the visually impaired students who were willing to work hard The State Government has earlier come out with CDs and CD players to assist in their learning It will also provide soft loans for laptops to the blind students to promote education The computer centre will offer various computer courses to the students apart from 24 hour Internet facility The 10 computers that will be set up here will have a special software JAWS that is specially designed for the visually impaired to facilitate better computer learning We have grown from a small organisation to a strength of 400 students today We provide children with education boarding and lodging said Dr Sai Baba Goud Managing Director Devnar Foundation We have also opened

    Original URL path: http://www.digitalopportunity.org/news/computer-centre-for-visually-challenged/?searchterm=None (2016-02-17)
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    Reader developer Shirish Darwhekar with a visually impaired boy The main feature of the ABR is that it reads audio files as opposed to other learning aids which read text files said Saksham special projects director Shirish Darwhekar at a press conference here The ABR which can store up to 60 hours of audio is designed to read audio files that can be randomly accessed The device is a compact model with mobility and has embossed buttons and a voice menu that make for easy navigation According to the 2001 Census there are 1 06 crore people in India who are visually impaired Of these about 56 lakh are literate The buttons help the user to identify book titles and directly access chapters It has a bookmark facility whereby the user can resume from where he had left The ABR comes with an external 2 GB memory card and a lithium ion rechargeable battery which can provide backup for eight hours Audio files of any language can be uploaded to the device The ABR is also available with audio distribution facility he added More than a crore Explaining the need for ABRs Mr Darwhekar said According to the 2001 Census there are 1 06 crore people in India who are visually impaired Of these about 56 lakh are literate In the absence of Braille books for complete course material the devices that aid the visually impaired in their studies are audio cassettes and compact discs While compact discs get scratched and spoilt easily audio cassettes too are becoming obsolete More than 100 audio cassettes are needed to store the study material of Class X syllabus while even a greater number is required to store Class XII syllabus He said there were special devices manufactured abroad for the visually impaired which

    Original URL path: http://www.digitalopportunity.org/news/audio-book-reader-for-visually-challenged-in-india/?searchterm=None (2016-02-17)
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    Technology Choice OneWorld South Asia Info Indian govt puts community radio on Facebook 12 July 2012 One World South Asia A dedicated page on community radio on Facebook was launched by the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting today The idea behind the launch is to establish direct communication between the Ministry and the community radio fraternity of the country The objective of the page is to disseminate community radio information to the public and engage with over 134 operating community radio stations in the country The page will update the status of licences screening committee meetings permission agreements clearances for new community radio station consultations and events Community radio stations across the country can share information about their radio programmes upcoming events success stories photographs and their challenges in the page The page also aims in encouraging new and aspiring interest holders of community radio by regularly updating them on CR policy guidelines and by answering their queries Facebook s Timeline feature will highlight the history of the community radio movement in India A host of key documents related to policies can be viewed on the page Frequently asked questions FAQs relevant documents and photo albums of key events

    Original URL path: http://www.digitalopportunity.org/news/indian-govt-puts-community-radio-on-facebook/?searchterm=None (2016-02-17)
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    page on Facebook is becoming a vibrant forum for discussion on the Community Radio policy Community Radio stations and issues around sustainability Delhi A Facebook page launched by the India s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting MIB has opened the sluice gates for the country s burgeoning community of community radio broadcasters to air their grievances get updates on the progress of their files and check on the status of

    Original URL path: http://www.digitalopportunity.org/spotlight/community-radio-page-rocks-on-facebook/?searchterm=None (2016-02-17)
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