Project Mudra

Mudra, The Whole Story

Whoa! Long time since I wrote a post on this blog. Another year has gone by, so much to write about.

A major chunk of my year was totally focussed on Project Mudra. This blog post is going to be basically about Project Mudra and everything related to it.

What is Mudra?

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Mudra is a Braille Dicta Teacher which addresses the problem of Braille literacy among the visually impaired. It adopts an intuitive way of repetition and reinforcement learning of the Braille characters. Mudra currently has two modes of operations: Browse mode and Auto mode. Auto mode is aimed at the absolute beginner.It teaches the Braille character via a simultaneous audio and tactile output looping through the alphabets and numbers consequently. Basically the user listens to the corresponding character simultaneously as the tactile output appears on the Braille hardware, activating the sense of touch and hearing to reinforce learning.

 

auto-mode

Auto Mode

Browse mode lets the user browse through various Braille characters. It prompts the user for speech input which is subsequently converted to text by using Google’s speech recognition API and then sent to a filter which ensures correct conversion of the spoken character to the corresponding Braille representation of the character. There are several other modes of operations that we plan to work on in the future. For instance, the exam mode tests the user by generating a random character and asks the user to guess the character, by speaking to it. It then converts the user’s response to text and checks against the generated character to check whether the user was correct or not.

Who made it?
Me and Sanskriti Dawle developed Project Mudra with inputs and a lot of help from our friends. We have learnt a lot and come a long way ever since the initiation of the project.

TEDx

Why did we make it?
Short version: We wanted to make something useful, even with our rather limited knowledge of hardware and hoped to learn a lot along the way of making this project.
Long version: Quark was organising a Raspberry Pi workshop for the freshers, so being members of the controls we went too. It was here, when I was introduced to this tiny, credit card sized wonder. So I started fiddling around and tinkering with it and after a few small projects, we thought of more useful ways to harness the power of the Pi. This is where we formulated(got) the idea of Mudra and went ahead with it.
After we had done some work on it, we wanted to present this idea so we submitted it to PyCon(Python Conference) 2014 which was going to be held in Montreal as a poster session. PyCon was an obvious choice since the Raspberry Pi is programmed in python and I am a huge fan of the python programming language. To our fortunate surprise, the PSF (Python Software Foundation) selected our project for the poster session at PyCon 2014 and sent us a confirmation on Dec 15th (I was in a train, travelling from Goa to Delhi and was euphoric when I came to know, couldn’t wait to get home and meet my parents). Due to our director’s  (Dr. Sanjeev Aggarwal) quick response and help we were able to display the project at BITSAA Global Meet 2014 which was held in Hyderabad from Jan 3 to Jan 5.  On Jan 19th we spoke at TEDxBITSGoa about the concept of Mudra.

The response at TEDx was superb and it made us realise that what we had started as a mere academic project had social implications way beyond us. 

To be continued in the next post, which is going to be about PyCon 2014 and beyond.

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