Elankunnapuzha: In a likely first-of-its-kind initiative in the country, specially programmed smartphones have been distributed among 90 visually challenged people here in Ernakulam district so that they are enabled to lead a better life. A two-day training programme was also organised for those who received the special smartphone.
The project is being implemented by the Kerala State Handicapped Persons’ Welfare Corporation. The Vivo Y12 smartphones which were gifted have softwares like eSpeak, Money Reader, TapTapSee and TalkBack.
The phone is 3G and 4G compatible and works on the Android operating system. The eSpeak facility is available in Malayalam, English, Hindi and Tamil. Other apps on the phone include those enabling newspaper reading, book reading, games, online purchase, payment of various bills, bank transactions, training for competitive exams and academic learning.
Moreover, an audio route map can help users to travel without the help of others. The money reader can identify currency of various denominations.
Moreover, when the visually challenged people using the phone reach an unfamiliar place, they can learn their location with the help of the device. In case the phone’s contact list includes anyone in that locality, the phone will automatically dial the number, if prompted.
The initiative enables people to overcome disabilities with the help of technology, said S Sarma, MLA, while speaking during the inauguration of the district-level distribution of the phones.
At the function, 50 hearing aids were also given to needy people. The aids were distributed by Edappally block panchayat president M R Antony. Meanwhile, under the ‘Hastadanam’ (handshake) project, Nayarambalam panchayat president E P Shibu handed over fixed deposit certificates amounting to Rs 30,000 each to 30 children with severe handicaps.
Handicapped Persons Welfare Corporation director board member Girish Keerthy presided over the function. Those who spoke included managing director K Moideenkutty, former managing director Jackson Pereira and others.