Distinguished Guest Speaker: M. Balakrishnan
480 Dreese Labs
2015 Neil Ave.,
Columbus Ohio 43210
ASISTECH: Assistive Technology Solutions for Mobility & Education of Visually Impaired
Inclusion of marginalized communities is considered a major developmental objective for all societies in this millennia. Inclusion of people with disabilities, born or acquired later, constitutes a very different challenge as it cannot be handled just by policies and political will. It requires major technology intervention. In this talk we present the work of ASSISTECH, IIT Delhi in developing solutions aimed at independent mobility and education of visually impaired in India and other low income countries. ASSISTECH has had some success in disseminating the technology solutions that have been developed in the laboratory. First, we would focus on uniqueness of the Indian context and how these solutions innovatively address these needs including affordability. Further, we also talk about the challenges in translational research and dissemination that is critical for taking any proof-of-concept beyond the walls of a laboratory. The talk would introduce two mobility (SmartCaneTM , OnBoardTM) and two education related products (RBD, Tactile Diagrams) developed by ASSISTECH and also some of the current ongoing research.
Bio: M. Balakrishnan is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering and currently Deputy Director(Strategy & Planning) at IIT Delhi. He obtained his B.E.(Hons.) in Electronics & Electrical Engg. from BITS Pilani in 1977 and Ph.D. from EE Dept. IIT Delhi in 1985. He worked as a Scientist in CARE, IIT Delhi from 1977 to 1985 where he was involved in designing and implementing real-time DSP systems. For the last 29 years, he is involved in teaching and research in the areas of digital systems design, electronic design automation and embedded systems. He has supervised 12 Ph.D. students, 3 MSR students, 173 M.Tech/B.Tech projects and published nearly 110 conference and journal papers. Further, he has held visiting positions in universities in Canada, USA and Germany. At IIT Delhi, he has been the Philips Chair Professor, Head of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering, Dean of Post Graduate Studies & Research, Deputy Director (Faculty) and is currently Deputy Director (Strategy & Planning). At IIT Delhi, he has initiated a number of programmes/activities to promote research, start-ups as well as outreach to the community.
ASSISTECH, a laboratory and research group founded by him along with Prof. P.V.M. Rao (Mech Engg), is involved in developing a number of assistive devices targeted towards mobility and education of the visually impaired. He has been a recipient of three National awards for his work in the disability space. SmartCaneTM is a mobility aid for visually impaired developed by his group and currently it is used by more than sixty thousand users in India and other low-income countries.
Host: Anish Arora