IBM India teams with IIT Guwahati to empower the disabled

by Agencies    Dec 07, 2011

IBM announced collaboration with IIT Guwahati for Shared University Research (SUR) on Computer Assisted Therapy and Rehabilitation for speech, hearing and language pathologies. Researchers at IBM’s Human Accessibility Center as well as professionals and students at IIT Guwahati will work together to develop technology-based solutions that can augment existing therapeutic procedures for a speedy recovery for patients. These tools will help in analyzing mistakes and suggest correct pronunciation to those with speech problems.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Bhooshan Kelkar, Country Manager, University Relations, IBM India said, “As a part of this ambitious project, we hope to augment traditional speech improvement therapies for patients with software tools. We are delighted to be associated with the cause to extend high performance computing capabilities to make this project a success”

The research team will work closely with patients facing speech problems and their feedback will be critical in the development of solutions. At a later stage, the project will try to address challenges faced by people with hearing disabilities and language disabilities.

“One of the other outcomes of this project will be a user-friendly visual interaction tool which will help patients practice speech on their own without human intervention. The uniqueness of this project is the collaboration between academia and IBM for the greater good”, said Dr. S. R. Mahadeva Prasanna, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, IIT Guwahati and the principal investigator of the project.

For decades, IBM hashelped in developing technology to assist physically challenged people. In recognition of these sustained efforts, IBM India was recently honored with ‘The National Award 2011 for Outstanding Work in Creation of Barrier Free Environment for the Persons with Disabilities’ by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India.

The company was one of the first developers for people with disabilities when they developed a Braille printer in 1975 and in 1980 created a talking typewriter for the blind. In 1985 IBM also created the Special Needs Group specifically to address technology needs of the disabled.

About IBM’s SUR

The IBM Shared University Research (SUR) Award is a worldwide award program designed to promote research in areas of mutual value and interest to IBM and universities. The program targets a wide variety of areas, ranging from life sciences, high-performance computing and energy technology to digital data protection. The collaboration fosters both knowledge transfer and IT innovation. IIT Guwahati is the sixth institute in India to get this award during 2011. The other institutions selected for the prestigious SUR are IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, College of Engineering Pune (CoEP), Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU) and PSG Tech, Coimbatore.