New Contents Developed by Sri Lankans to Help Persons with Disabilities

On 06th November 2009, Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka held the Country’s very first National Best e-Content Award. National Best e-Content Award (NBe-CA) is a Local initiative for selecting and giving national level recognition to best e-content and applications developed in Sri Lanka. Therefore, ICTA had invited all Sri Lankans to take this opportunity to showcase their creativity and skill in developing digital content and applications.

The main objective of the ‘e-Swabhimani' event was to promote creative ICT applications and to assess and appreciate at a national level the individual and institutional creators of such applications. ICTA had recognized the fact that the disparities in accessing information communication technologies that exist in our society today stems not only from inadequate infrastructure but also from the lack of content. Further, ICTA expected the launch of this National Contest will mark a new milestone in content development in the Country and is expected to create a wider awareness and consciousness on the importance of digital content both among the creators as well as the users.
Categories of National Best e-Content Contest included:
* e-Government & Institutions * e-Health & Environment * e-Learning & Education
* e-Entertainment & Games * e-Culture & Heritage * e-Science & Technology
* e-Business & Commerce * e-Inclusion & Participation
Read more about the competition:

Two winning projects under the category of ‘e-Inclusion & Participation’ shined at the e-Swabhimani 2009 as they are dedicated to the benefit of most vulnerable group of the society, the people with disabilities. ‘ICT for teaching the hearing impaired’ and ‘Watch’ were special among rest of the award winners as these two projects were developed to cater the needs of the people with disabilities.

ICT for teaching the hearing impaired ( by Infolume (pvt) Ltd :
‘ICT for teaching the hearing impaired’ is a multimedia based interactive DVD and e-learning website developed by infolume (pvt) Ltd in Sri Lanka. The main objective of the project is to teach sign language in local languages: Sinhala and Tamil in Sri Lanka. Through this project, it has opened the doors to education and opportunities for a marginalized and vulnerable community specially those who are hearing impaired.

Home page:

Juror’s evaluation on the project read as “The disabled in Sri Lanka are among the most disadvantaged in the country. While these with means will have recourse to specialized products and services the average family will struggle to cope with the disability. ICT for Hearing Impaired leverages on ICT to improve access to education for aurally impaired children. This pioneering initiative uses multimedia, video, photos, animation, audio and text to teach sigh language in Sinhala and Tamil languages to student as well as their care givers and teachers. By facilitating the learning of sign language and paving the way for improved communication, this project makes a sincere attempt to address the needs of an inclusive society. It will ensure that right to education and expression of aurally impaired is better realized in the future.”

"Watch" by Ganidu Nanayakkara
“Watch” the invention of young Secondary school student Ganindu Nanayakkara which features a specialized hardware and software to enable people with disabilities to use a computer with a key pad of only four keys. So a finger, a toe, a head the hand or even the tongue can be used and the software and hardware system can be customized to cater for specific needs of a disabled user.

Ganindu Nanayakkara;

The project ‘Watch’ features specialized hardware and driver software to enable people with disabilities to use a computer and any software with a key pad with 4 keys. Since only 4 input commands are needed to use a given software, it makes designing a wearable physical device for a disabled person easy. Most of the movable parts of the human body can be used as the commanding organ for this system [ex. A finger, a leg(s), head, a hand, tongue, etc.] Therefore, this invention can be used by any kind of a physically disabled person. Unlike most of the products available in the market today, this system is totally customizable, depending on the user’s requirements, so it makes the user more comfortable and product more reliable and practical.

Juror’s evaluation on the project read as “This project is a creation of a secondary school student mainly to make it easy for physically handicapped persons to use computer facilities. The unique and simple input mechanism can be used with little practice by any disabled and normal person to control the computer effectively and efficiently. The device design does not require any high cost electronic circuitry. The manufacturing cost is thus low making it suitable for developing countries like Sri Lanka. Several entertainment and educational applications are also provided to demonstrate performance and features of the device. This project clearly demonstrates how ICT can be deployed to improve the lives of people disadvantaged through physical disabilities."

Click here to see the video on "Watch"

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