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IIT Kanpur: Researchers Develop Novel Smartwatch For The Blind And Visually Impaired

A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur on Saturday announced that it has developed a new touch-sensitive smart watch for the visually impaired that is equipped with modern technologies. The watch includes sensors such as PPG (photoplethysmography) to read health parameters such as heart rate and SPO2.

An accelerometer is used to measure step count to monitor daily activity. All these parameters can be read individually using the haptic menu.

Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director IIT Kanpur, said, “One of our objectives at IIT Kanpur has been to make innovations inclusive for all. This haptic smartwatch is a significant invention in this regard, which I believe will be of great help for the blind and the visually impaired.”

“The touch-sensitive and vibration-based features would prove to be revolutionary in giving the sense of time to the blind and the visually impaired. I congratulate the team led by Prof. Siddhartha Panda, and Vishwaraj Srivastava, for this invention,” he added.

The invention is called a cost-effective smart wearable device with a touch-sensitive tactile interface that displays information using vibration.

The dial face with touch-sensitive hour markers and vibration-based output is used to read the time, create an interface for selecting different apps, quickly identify different apps, and understand numbers.

The report states that around 49 million blind and 285 million visually impaired persons in the world face difficulty in interacting easily with devices due to the absence of tactile interfaces.

India is home to about 20% of the total blind people in the world. Addressing the concern, the team at IIT Kanpur has developed a smartwatch that operates in haptic mode.

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