Python for Assistive Technology Devices
The low cost assistive technology solutions created by Enability Foundation for Rehabilitation, a not for profit company, aims to provide substantial support to access Education, Communication, Employment, Daily living, Recreation and Rehabilitation. The products developed includes a) Novel access switches, namely, ball switch, finger switch, ADITI W, iGest, vPlay which has been developed for physically challenged people and for people with special needs to access a computer. b) Two devices for the visually impaired, namely, TakeNote and Tactograph. c) A multi-lingual AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) Tablet, Kavi T, specifically for people who are non-verbal with motor impairments or those who are autistic is being developed. All hardware devices are incomplete without the software. The underlying software used to connect these devices to the desktops is Python. The wide use of python as a general purpose high level language with a large library and the ease of programming in Python has made us choose the same. Access Switches: Python is used to connect these switches with the computer to operate these switches as a mouse click for both the wired connection devices and the bluetooth devices. We have integrated access switches with various single click games developed in Python using Pygame Library. Children are encouraged to play these games for entertainment and to allow them to move their hands and fingers using the special switches. We are also looking at porting these games as an Android mobile app. Devices for the Visually Impaired: Takenote is a portable device which allows users to take notes in Braille, and the notes are stored in the memory card in the device. The user can later on transfer these files to the desktop for editing. We have developed a python program to achieve the file transfer using bluetooth. We also support regional languages like Tamil, Hindi and are now upgrading for more than 10 regional language support. Tactograph is a 2D tactile printer which prints tactile images using fevicol. The software developed for the Tactograph is in Python. The image is placed in the printing place and the camera is used to calibrate the image. A specialized software in the PC allows us to plot the points where the fevicol has to be dropped on the image. When the printing is initiated, the motor moves towards XY direction and prints the plotted points. These images can also be saved in the library for later use. AAC Tablet (Kavi T): Kavi-T transforms the tablets into advanced AAC device that is robust, easy to use, and can be easily adapted across different regions of the country. Python software is developed to integrate the tablet with access switches and external speakers and to provide local language support.
It can be seen from the above that, at Enability, Python plays a major role in the development of the Affordable Assistive Devices.
I am Kasthuri G working as a project officer under Prof. Anil Prabhakar in Dept of Electrical Engg. I have completed MTech and working in Software development