The Telegraph, India.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006.
Indigenous but neglected. That's the story of Trinayan, a device developed to illuminate the world of the blind.
The Braille embossing system, developed by some technology enthusiasts in Calcutta, is a Braille equivalent of a desktop printer and can perform embossing jobs unmanned.
"The device can be attached to a Windows-based computer, just like any printer. Text can be entered through word-processing software like Microsoft Word or Lipi. A transcripting software then converts the text into a set of instructions and Trinayan does the rest," said Aniruddha Sengupta, an electronics engineer who developed the device and has a patent pending for it.
It all started, according to Sengupta, in 1995 when a Jadavpur University-Webel project to modernise the Perkins Brailler - the traditional 'typewriter' for the blind, which Rani Mukherjee's character uses in Black - took long to bear fruit.
"In 2000, the university approached another company, which referred the matter to me," Sengupta said. Within six months, Sengupta and his team at Computer Services - a company that builds microprocessor-controlled devices - built the first prototype of the embossing tool.
"Compared to the imported Perkins Brailler, every part of Trinayan is made in Calcutta. The cost, therefore, is much lower," Sengupta added. While a Perkins Brailler will cost a few lakh rupees, Trinayan comes for around Rs 75,000.
But high production cost and lack of bulk orders has rendered the proposition non-viable for Sengupta.
"Developing and fine-tuning the prototype took nearly Rs 6 lakh which we had to spend on our own. We have manufactured around 10 machines so far, some of which have been given to an NGO and others to Jadavpur University."
Attempts to approach the state government haven't helped. "I've written to the chief minister but have not been able to meet him. Demonstration of the device before the human resources development ministry drew a lot of interest from blind schools. But there, too, paucity of funds came in the way," Sengupta rued.
End of article.
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