Visually impaired persons rely on volunteers to read out content especially if it is printed. I-Stem will change this.

I-Stem, an app founded by people with disabilities themselves, is set to change the way people with disabilities look technology. With people with disabilities continuing to be among the most under-represented communities in India, blind or visually impaired are forced to rely on volunteers to read out content especially if it is printed or inaccessible with other technologies they use.  This scenario will see a change with the arrival of the new app.

The I-Stem mobile app helps blind people take a picture of printed material and convert it into completely accessible and usable formats. It also allows users to upload documents that are otherwise inaccessible and incompatible with their assistive technology (technology that converts text into speech) and convert them into accessible formats. The app also includes learning resources that helps educate right from basic assistive technology to the latest cutting edge tech.

The Android app is currently available on Google Play Store. “The goal of the app is to address the book famine that the disability community faces, while also enhancing access to critical digital information which often is inaccessible such as circulars and notices, reports, research papers among others,” said Kartik Sawhney, co-founder and the principal innovator of the technology.

I-Stem app on Google Play Store

The app has been developed as part of a grant from The GSMA Innovation Fund for Assistive Tech, which is supported by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Besides the launch of the app, the event brought together people with disabilities from across the country and corporates such as Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Intel, Oracle etc. to network, learn from each other, discuss issues around disability, inclusion and accessibility and ideate on solutions.

Several candidates with disabilities were also considered for recruitment opportunities. Participants also worked together to develop solutions to various challenges faced by people with disabilities as part of an ideathon.

By Ram

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