Wednesday, October 29, 2008

KAVI: Making every voice heard

Cerebral Palsy also known as CP is often described as "An intelligent mind captured in a disobedient body". This is a non-progressive condition caused due to damage in some parts of brain especially during child delivery. This leads to loss of proper functioning of motor nerves which are responsible for neuro-muscular coordination leading to various problems including speech impairment. The muscles become stiff (spasticity) and reflex movements are absolutely uncontrolled making it impossible for a person to carryout normal days work and making him dependent on someone else. Though the learning abilities and intelligence level remains normal. According to a study conducted by Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that cerebral palsy has the second highest economic cost amongst all birth defects. There is no cure for cerebral palsy, as the damage to the brain cannot be reversed, but it can be managed by different interventions.

In order to maximize one's potential; education in some form is a must. Many initiatives have been taken in last few years in terms of providing education and training to a person with CP. Technology has played a major role worldwide to overcome few of these challenges, but most often these technologies are restricted to urban areas. Unfortunately for the rural dwellers with CP, technologies have failed to address the problems of rural areas in terms of affordability and accessibility. The conventional ACC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) systems like flip-charts having alphabets, eye-pointing, graphical tablets etc are typically used in India. All these methods are slow, cumbersome and are not very interactive. Attempts have been made to create computer softwares for this purpose. But since computers are expensive and consume more electricity, these kinds of technologies could never address the rural needs.

KAVI, designed by Invention Labs, is an AAC device focusing on children with Cerebral Palsy with speech impairment. The main goal of this innovation is to empower these children in rural India to join mainstream schools without any inhibitions or loss of self-respect. This will in turn lead to greater economic productivity and improved social perception. KAVI is a handheld assistive device with an LCD screen which has been designed, keeping in mind the special requirement of children with CP in rural areas. It has two main components: AVAZ is interacting software which generates sentences based on the click signals sent to the system which is then read out to an interlocutor. It allows children to compose sentences rapidly and hence effective communication. This also allow teachers to structure their instruction with the students with more creativity and to come up with innovative ways of conveying concepts to disabled children. ADITI is a contactless switch with a large surface area making it easy to use for a person with poor motor control skills. KAVI runs on a nickel metal-hydride battery which makes it environment friendly and safe to use. The device itself is portable which can also be mounted on a wheelchair. The design gives a very playful feel to make it easier for children to accept the device.

L-RAMP is very pleased to welcome Invention Labs and their KAVI product into our incubation programme. In the coming months, Invention Labs will be carefully studying the wants and needs of people with Cerebral Palsy with the goal of using the study results to move KAVI towards commercialization.

For further details contact:
Mobile no: 9600152349

1 comment:

Swati Mohanty said...

Can you please give me more information about these devices. I work at a special school and this would be very useful for our children. The above email ID doesn't exist or work. Hope to receive a positive response.

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