The Indiana University School of Informatics & Computing at IUPUI organized an Indo-US Workshop on Emerging Accessibility Technologies for the Blind and Visually Impaired, on Sept.21, 2015, at the Indiana University India Gateway in Gurgaon, Delhi, India.
The Workshop brought together participants from academia, industry, and NGOs representing the BVI community in India. Mr. A. K. Mittal, President of the All India Federation of Blind, inaugurated the Workshop and delivered the opening remarks. This was followed by a keynote presentation by Professor M. Balakrishnan, a distinguished researcher from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Delhi). Further presentations were given by Dr. Ed Cutrell, a senior researcher from Microsoft Research, Bangalore, Dr. Abhay Jere from Persistent Systems in Pune, and Professor Steven Mannheimer, School of Informatics & Computing, IUPUI. Various short presentations were also given by researchers from Assistech, Indian Institute of Technology – Delhi.
The Workshop concluded with a panel session and discussion about the organization of a two-day follow-up workshop in Spring 2016 with the focus on:
- Education in STEM-related areas;
- Employment and career opportunities for the BVI;
- Development of communication networks and outreach information services to enable and empower BVI; and
- Open dialogue with user groups and other stakeholders in the broader BVI community, including, employers, educators, families, social agencies and NGOs, and other researchers.
The goal of the second workshop will be primarily to establish a list of research projects that have international scope, are innovative, valuable to the user community, and will be viable for Indo-US collaborative grant opportunities.
Dr. Mathew Palakal, School of Informatics & Computing at IUPUI, spearheaded this workshop with support from IU Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, “This workshop provided a forum for a small group of people from all key sectors to come together to discuss improving the basic quality of life for the BVI. The passion and excitement at the workshop was unparalleled and we are very hopeful that this collaborative effort will lead to fulfilling some of the basic unmet needs of the BVI through technological innovations.”