The IIT-D's chapter’s sub-group, Social Innovation Cell are trying to "add colour" to the lives of the blind over the past two-three years developing technology for "social good."
The colour sensor for the blind, a low-cost bed for blood-donation and a host of accessible computer and mobile games preceded the "Hackathon for Social Good" the SIC has concluded at IIT recently.
Around 200 - first year IIT students - attended the workshop on developing mobile applications. They submitted their ideas and a 'prototype'
“The objective of the "hackathon" was to drive home the point that you don't need to have a PhD to solve problems. Very small interventions can make a huge difference,” said a student.
"The colour-sensor was developed keeping in mind science students who need to check colours of compounds. You can touch the compound - powder or non-corrosive liquid - with the sensor and it'll tell you the colour," said another student.
The collapsible contraption of hollow carbon-fibre rods, plywood and synthetic leather that's the blood-donation bed took all of last year. They got some informal support from doctors at AIIMS but the actual international standards still elude the team.
"Currently the beds are imported and cost Rs. 70,000 to Rs.80,000 each. They're also heavy and can't be transported," says a student
The IIT version, once it’s ready, will weigh about 2.5-3 kilograms and cost under Rs.5, 000. The NSS chapters of the IITs had set up blood donation NGO Blood Connect.
Students also developed mobile and computer games for the blind, ensuring these are accessible versions of ones popular with the sighted. These are the immediate precursor to the "social good" apps. The touch screens look very different.