The WHO estimates that 90% of all visually impaired people (285 million) do not have the financial resources to gain additional tech-based help. Their financial constraints restrict them from accessing technology that might help them independence and self-reliance.
Gaurav Mittal during his company’s CSR days visited the National Association for the Blind. There he saw how there was a gap for visually impaired people in using technology. Despite having smartphones, these people couldn’t use them to their full potential. He decided to change that. Mittal along with Subodh and Vaibhav Asthana created GingerMind Technologies.
The venture launched Eye-D (an acronym for Eye Devices) which had the best features from the last decade that could benefit the visually impaired in their day-to-day life. The Eye-D app had Screen Readers that could tell the person what was being displayed on the screen. The app also allowed the user to click any photo and convert its information into an audible output.
The audio feature comes in 12 languages to help visually impaired people navigate their location, read the names of medicines and even books. One Eye-D user has used the tech even in the kitchen. He took a picture of the vegetable and the app gave the audible answer that the vegetable was a bell pepper and what its colour was.
The technology was part of a startup initiative named Elevate 100. In 2014, they received an undisclosed amount of funding from Microsoft, Intel and Citrix. They received an undisclosed grant in 2017 and raised an undisclosed amount in 2018. Using the Eye-D technology, Aryan Balachandra Joshi with his limited vision was able to participate in a Chess tournament and win 4th place.
It has been used by more than 70,000 users in over 160 countries. Mostly, Eye-D has been adopted and used by NGOs and other government bodies dedicated to help blind people. Such technology holds the power to give visually impaired people a chance not only at independence but also at achievement. Will Eye-D, an app-based technology, be able to help millions of visually impaired people gain their independence?