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IBM software to make differently-abled tech savvy

Dec 03, 2007 04:57 PM IST India India

New Delhi: It was a technology conference with a difference. IBM India announced the setting up of India's first ever Human Ability and Accessibility Centre in New Delhi, a centre that will create software to assist differently-abled people become tech savvy.

The Managing Director IBM India, Shanker Annaswamy says, "The idea is to enable teh ability of human beings using the available technology."

India has a staggering 70 million differently-abled people and the goal of the meet was to change prevalent notions about helping them.

IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Director, Francis West says, "The traditional view of disability is that they are a group of people that we have to help and therefore it's more of a charity sense of relationship."

On display were the accessibility products intended to make life easier for the differently-abled and get them into the mainstream. This software translates spoken Hindi into text. It makes web-browsing easy by customising font sizes, background and page-layouts.

IBM says that the initial response has been good.

"The Government has participated, the National Trust has participated as has the department of social justice," says Annaswamy.

But any such innovation will come with a price tag. So can the average consumer afford it?

Annaswamy says that the goal is to make the software affordable. "We will work with our partners to make sure that it is accessible to them," he says.

While this could be the best gift that these specially-abled people could get, the accessibility and affordability of the product will decide its success.