MindTree’s Assistive Technologies Program wins at Manthan Awards South Asia 2010

Bangalore: MindTree Limited, a global IT Solutions company, announced that the MindTree Foundation’s Assistive Technologies Program has been judged as a Winner in the “e-Inclusion” category at the recently held Manthan South Asia 2010 Awards. Organized by the Digital Empowerment Foundation in partnership with World Summit Award and American India Foundation, the Manthan Awards recognize innovative South Asian projects that promote development through digital inclusion and empower communities through knowledge-sharing. With around 450 Nominations from 8 different countries from South Asia vying for these awards there were 77 chosen for the final list.

Manthan Awards is organized by Delhi-based Digital Empowerment Foundation with an objective to provide an opportunity to the industry, scientific community and regulatory agencies to come together to discuss new initiatives. It aims to bring to the fore projects in e-content and promote best practices and creativity in e-content.

Speaking on the win, Raja Shanmugam, CEO, MindTree Foundation said, “It is a strong endorsement for the mission of our Assistive Technologies program. Some of our devices have been tested by special education professionals in India and from countries such as Vietnam and Thailand and have got good responses. This year, the team will focus on the productization of these devices and shipping them in pilot quantities for field validation, training and certification requirements. We will also invest in the market development efforts to ensure wide product reach and acceptance.”

Osama Manzar, Founder & Director, Digital Empowerment Foundation said, “Disability in India has its own population of the size of many countries. However, their abilities are far more important than their inabilities and that is where the role and assistance of various ICT tools could make a difference. At Manthan Award, our endeavour is to constantly search, identify, recognize and encourage such innovations in the field different and diverse abilities. This year, Manthan Award is proud to have MindTree joining the list of innovators who are trying to make a difference in the society by enabling differently-abled people through their path-breaking assistive technologies.”

In India, the commercially available Assistive Technologies have been limited to mostly hearing aids, prosthetics and wheelchairs. By leveraging its strong technology credentials, MindTree seeks to add significant value through assistive technologies in the ICT space. These will help the differently-abled integrate better in the areas of interpersonal communication, assisted living, education, and employment. The MindTree Foundation with its charter to support the cause of differently able people and primary education provides the platform to channelize these initiatives.

K(C)ommunication Audio-Visual Interface Device (KAVI) and Analog DIgital Theremin Interface (ADITI) are two of the devices that were considered as part of the evaluation. KAVI is a speech-enabled Augmentative and Alternative Communication device that allows people with Speech and Motor Impairments to communicate with others. Persons with musculoskeletal disabilities usually find it difficult to interface with a computer with the standard keyboard and mouse since these require a certain degree of dexterity and control. ADITI is an affordable access switch device that allows them to work on computers in a simpler manner.