Friday, June 21

“Simple Reading”: An App to Lighten the World of Visually Impaired

Standard Chartered Bank has joined hands with DAISY Consortium, a network of NGOs from 55 countries to launch a unique digital app “Simple Reading” to unlock digital reading for people who struggle with more complex touchscreen solutions.

The cost-effective and flexible application which is an Indian-led initiative aims to facilitate convenient digital reading for visually impaired and low visioned people, informed Karun Bhatia, Head of Sustainability, SCB.

“Simple Reading” is available as a free app that can be downloaded from Google play store and allows reading books from online library platforms such as Sugamya Pustakalya and Bookshare. After being downloaded on a smartphone, the print formats can also be converted to Braille and projected on electronic screens, also called “Paperless Braille”, to be used by the visually-impaired.

Dipendra Manocha, President of DAISY Forum and founder of Saksham, an NGO aimed at developing holistic reading and writing solutions in Indian languages said,

The development of affordable reading devices in Indian languages and Braille presses connected to a common online platform, having a collection of 3.5 lakh accessible format books, will benefit at least 5.3 million people with blindness of low vision.

The digital launch is a part of SCB’s global “Seeing is Believing” initiative a programme aimed at tackling visual impairment and avoidable blindness.

The app launch took place at Indian Habitat Centre on Wednesday where Jagmohan Malhotra, former lieutenant governor of Delhi and Goa and governor of Jammu & Kashmir was invited as the chief guest to grace the event. He also released a copy of his book ” My frozen turbulence in Kashmir” that can be downloaded and read for free on the app.

A visually impaired software engineer, Dinesh Kaushal who has worked with Sapient India appreciated the assistive concept and said that it would help to democratize the resources by making it accessible to all.