Assistive Tech Startups for Disabled People
According to a report of the United Nations, more than a billion people are living in this world with some sort of disability and out of those more than 50 million disabled people live in India. While there is no proper infrastructure for disabled people, that make it more difficult for them to get around. Therefore, there is a need for technological innovation to help them in leading a normal and comfortable life.
Several start-ups have decided to make the everyday life of disabled people normal with their unique and interesting products so, here in the article below, we present 7 Indian start-ups who are working to ensure that everyday life is not so ‘different’ for the differently-abled people.
- Oswald Foundation
Anand Chowdhary and Nishant Gadihoke started Oswald Foundation in the year 2016 by building a free reading solution for people with dyslexia. Now it is known as Valmiki reading solution and works as a browser extension. It has a built-in feature that automatically adjusts to colour contrast ratio and typography according to the people suffering from learning or reading disorder.
They have also developed an accessibility features in their websites known as Agastya for web developers. Another project which they are working on is Shravan, which will be an end-to-end accessible smartphone. This technology will be integrated with various features that will allow visual impaired, unlettered, senior citizens and anyone who needs it to use a smartphone.
- Rise Legs
Prosthetic legs have been there in the market for a long time now. But their heavyweight and lack of flexibility is something many amputees have to unwillingly deal with. But there is something light in weight and can help a disabled person to move.
There is a startup known as Rise Legs, based in Bengaluru which works on making cane prosthetic legs which can be customized according to the needs of the customers. So if any disabled person who wants to run or wants a creative design for their prosthetic legs, they can do it for you. This company was founded by Arun Cherian who was a robotics professional and he is working with various leaders of industry to build strong equipment for disabled people.
- Barrier Break
Technological advancement can help people suffering from various disabilities and senior citizens to live independently. Barrier Break is a startup which focuses on those technologies that can assist the disabled people. It was started by Shilpi Kapoor and they have already manufactured products like vibrating watch for those who can’t see and AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) technology for people who are unable to speak.
Apart from bringing assistive technology to India, Barrier Break services 9 other countries. It also works with non-profit organizations, governments and corporate to create an ecosystem that is conducive to empower persons with disabilities using technology and work towards bridging the road map for an inclusive society.
Where the world is changing every day and new technologies are disrupting industries, can you imagine how a person who is visually impaired is accessing the internet? To enable them to stay at pace with the rest of the world, IIT Bombay alumni Surabhi Srivastava has built BrailleMe, a machine that plugs into mobile phones and other devices to assist visually impaired people to access the internet.
While traditional, script-based Braille prints are not just bulky but also expensive; this product stands out as it is 10 times cheaper than all existing commercially available competitors.
- Kick Start
Being able to move anywhere at will is an important aspect of our lives but most of our disabled friends still struggle from hassle-free accessibility yet this problem is overlooked by major companies of India. A cab service startup which is based in Bengaluru, Kick Start, founded by Vidhya Ramasubban and Srikrish Siva have started a service for people who are bounded by wheel-chair to travel from one place to another without being dependent on their family and friends.
These customized cabs are equipped to accommodate wheelchair users as well as those with disabilities and senior citizens. They also have trained drivers who help customers to board as well as get off the cab with no problem.
- MAC (Move Ability Clothing)
This bootstrapped startup founded by Joe Ikareth and his wife Murielle Ikareth realizes the need for comfortable clothing and accessories solutions for differently-abled people to ease of dressing and undressing. They were inspired by the traditional fabric of Kerala such as cotton, silk and linen.
They have an aim to create equitable, ecological and elegant clothes for disabled people. They have a boutique in Fort Kochi in which they have a collection of amazing designs. Their collection is also available at ‘Ensemble’ in Delhi ‘Teatro Dhora’ in Jaipur, ‘Grasshopper’ in Bangalore and Sosas’ in Goa.