(From L-R): Professor Maurizio Cirrincione, Chair IEEE Fiji Subsection, Nikhil Singh (with the invented Eye Slate) and Dr Utkal Mehta, Project Supervisor.
An Engineering project of The University of the South Pacific (USP) has been shortlisted as one of the top twenty (20) projects in the world in 2016 as part of the All Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Young Engineers’ Humanitarian (AIYEHUM) Challenge.
The project, Eye Braille Slate was developed by engineering students, Nikhil Singh and Vinaal Prakash under the supervision of Dr Utkal Mehta, Senior Lecturer at USP’s School of Engineering and Physics (SEP).
Eye Braille Slate is a low cost solution to teach Braille language to visually impaired children. It has various modes to facilitate braille learning faster and easy by audible aid and soft key press, which is suitable for children.
The principal objective of the AIYEHUM Challenge, which was held in 2016, was to inspire young professionals to become socially responsible and be engaged in developing technological solutions which were cost effective and sustainable, improve living conditions and livelihood of people thereby making a difference in peoples’ lives.
While officially relaying the information to the developers, Mr Benedict John, Project Coordinator of AIYEHUM 2016 stated that the project is truly a humanitarian one and its aim at teaching Braille script to visually impaired children is commendable.
“We are looking forward to seeing your project change lives as you vision it to be,” Mr John further stated.
The team from USP received a cash prize of US$500 as part of the award. For the students, receiving the award money is not as significant as what they learnt and applied as part of their technological solutions for humanitarian purposes in school.
Dr Utkal Mehta, project supervisor believes that such participation in competitions will provide the School of Engineering and Physics (SEP) students a platform to prove their ability and motivation to work with other organisations.
Dr Mehta added that without support from USP’s Disability Resource Centre and Information Technology Services (ITS), realisation of the concept to prototype would not have been possible.
Head of School, Professor Maurizio Cirrincione said that this gives SEP programmes a strong credibility abroad and is also one of the outcomes of the School’s advanced laboratories and quality teaching.
The support from various sections has also been noteworthy as the school continues to break new ground in knowledge delivery in various areas of engineering.
Professor Anjeela Jokhan, Dean of Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment congratulated the team and said that, “I am really proud of this achievement and this is the way forward in creating educated students to solve real world problems.”
AIYEHUM Challenge is a project competition where contestants identify and develop technological solutions to the benefit of resource constrained and vulnerable communities.
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