Indian entrepreneur makes device to help cerebral palsy kids talk
Date: Thursday , September 30, 2010
Innovation for a common good and cause is not everyone's cup of tea. But Ajit Narayan is one among those who thought of the differently abled. His company Invention Lab has invented Avaz, one of the most useful talking devices for those affected with cerebral palsy.
Avaz, which means 'speech', gives speech to a child. The device is mounted on the wheelchair which the child uses. It can be kept on the desk or on the child's lap. They used the T9 method used in mobile phones. These children do not have the dexterity to touch the exact word on the screen. So once they touch anywhere on the screen, a color moves to each word and when it reaches the right word, they need to touch again, anywhere on the screen.
Visiting the disabled at Vidyasagar (formerly called the Spastic Society of India) and getting to know those children with normal intelligence who could not express themselves in words, gave birth to the idea of designing a communication device similar to what is used in the U.S. but is affordable to people here.
Spending hours with the children at Vidyasagar and doing experiments with the updated prototypes at every session over two years, they launched Avaz in February 2010 at Vidyasagar.
Upon completing his graduation from Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, Narayan went to U.S. with the plan of returning to India after a few years to be an entrepreneur. In 2007, Ajit was back in India and with a few like-minded friends, he started Invention Labs. "I was very impressed with the way America had adopted technology in day-to-day life. I wanted to invent things that would improve the lives of Indians. So it was my dream that I should start a company that would create products which are useful to the people of India," said Ajit.
Invention Labs' next plan is Avaz for autism, dyslexia, mental retardation and people affected by stroke.