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.