The stigma of blindness affects people psychologically and often leads to decreased social and self-acceptance. The disability is exacerbated in the case of visually challenged people belonging to the lower economic strata – those who cannot afford expensive technologies designed for the blind people. In our era of technological advancements and innovations, is there a solution to the plight of visually challenged people? Indeed, there is!

Innovator Krishna Sai Inkoolu has designed a pair of shoes, called Taparch, which can help people in identifying and isolating obstacles within a range of 400 cm on a specified or unspecified track.  It caters to people who have less than 15 degrees of visual field. Priced economically, Taparch aims to improve the standards of safety and provide comfort to the blind population. It is currently in the pre-incubation stage, and is already in the market.  


Describing the genesis of Taparch, Krishna, an undergraduate student from GITAM University, writes-

We keenly observed the conventional walking methods of the visually impaired. While 80% of them used Hoover canes, the rest were dependent on Echolocation. Therefore, we realized that there was no significant and economical technology available to cater to the needs of the visually impaired. With that thought in mind, we invented TAPARCH that works on principle of "Sense of Touch", and lets the user identify the distance and dimension of the obstacle ahead.

On being asked how Taparch is different from the other technologies available in the market, he writes-

Taparch has a lot of advantages over the available gizmos in the market. For instance, while other gadgets are expensive and use complicated technology, Taparch is based on a simple technology that converts mechanical energy into power, and is  user-friendly.  

Krishna Sai is a socially stimulated individual who wants to bridge the gap for the visually impaired through technology.  He hopes that with Taparch, he is successful in realizing his dreams.  Further, he asserts that his only mission is to diffuse novel technology to the under-privileged section of the society.  

So what does the future hold for Taparch and Krishna Sai? He writes-

So far we’ve tested the productivity of Taparch at National Blind People Association. Our next step is to scale the pilot at a national level.

Krishna Sai won the SRISTI Socially Relevant Technological Innovation Award at the annual GYTI awards, 2015.


Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards, a different experience

The Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards, a SRISTI initiative to foster youth driven innovations, were held on 8th March, 2015. The awards were given by Dr. RA Mashelkar (Chairman, NIF), during the Festival of Innovations.  GYTI Awards celebrate the spirit of student innovation in the fields of engineering, science and other applied technologies.

For these 2015 Awards, a total of 1900 nominations across 50 technological domains from 150 universities/institutes were received.  The participants hailed from 28 different states, and 6 Union Territories! After a rigorous reviewing process by some very eminent experts, 13 projects were selected as the winners of GYTI 2015 awards. Further, 30 projects were awarded appreciation awards to encourage their relentless efforts to innovate India.

The GYTI 2015 awards weren’t your mainstream award functions where people see the award winners being handed over their shiny trophies, clap for them, and later leave the room. No.. these were different. We, and I hope I am speaking for everyone who was there, felt a sense of pride, hope, and intrigue while sitting there.

Pride- because it was a pleasure to see today’s youth engaging themselves in building products, creating technologies, and conducting research with the thought of social inclusion in mind. Most innovations that were awarded did not cater to the rich, or even the middle class. They targeted making new-age technologies affordable for even the lower economic strata of our society. Promoting equity through technology is the need of the hour, and we beamed with pride on seeing the same happen.

Hope- because such a pool of talent, driven by nothing less than the desire to take India forward, will most definitely take India forward!

Intrigue- because even when cutting-edge innovations are changing the face of today’s India, it is perplexing that we, the internet generations citizens, are hardly aware of these breakthroughs. It is for this very reason that I’ve decided to introduce all the GYTI innovations on the Techpedia blog. They say that each small drop makes the ocean, this is my small drop to the mission of making India innovative.