Introducing Our Keynote Speakers
Title: Assistive Technology Lessons from a Billion Devices: Insights from Android Screen Reader usage in India
Ajit Narayanan leads Google’s engineering team building Assistive Technology features on platforms like Android, Chrome, and Google Assistant. He led the team that built Voice Access, Switch Access, and Action Blocks on Android, and is currently working on features for people with cognitive disabilities such as dyslexia. Prior to Google, Ajit was the founder and CEO at Invention Labs, a startup that built Avaz: India’s first communication device for people with speech disabilities. Ajit has won several awards and recognitions in the disability domain, including the National Award for Empowerment of People with Disabilities; the MIT TR35 award for top young innovators worldwide; and being a TED speaker. He has degrees in linguistics and electrical engineering from IIT Madras, and lives in Chennai.
Each of the one billion Android phones that are active in India today comes with a suite of assistive technologies, including a full-featured screen reader. Yet, the usage of screen readers among the blind population in India is extremely low. In 2023, Google conducted a detailed study to understand the landscape of visual impairment in India, and attitudes towards assistive technology through the lens of Google’s screen reader, Talkback. Many of the findings of this study are likely to extend to other assistive technologies also. In this talk, we will summarize the findings of this study, and reflect on its implications for the assistive technology landscape in India.
Prof. Volker Sorge
Univ of Birmingham, UK
Professor Volker Sorge holds the position of Reader in Document Analysis and Accessibility within the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham.
Volker has been instrumental in reshaping the landscape of web technology standards development, influencing the conventional approaches employed by STEM publishers and aiding accessibility support professionals in serving visually impaired readers. Dr. Sorge’s efforts have resulted in the adoption of practical, open-source software technology for rendering mathematics in an accessible manner, enabling auditory and tactile transcription of mathematical formulas for widespread use.
Jaipur Foot Rehabilitation Center
Title: The Jaipur Limb Technology -Innovation & Impact
Pooja Mukul is a highly accomplished Rehabilitation Physician with a passion for making a positive impact on society. Her innovative work as a Social Impact Designer has earned her recognition and accolades, including prestigious awards such as the USISTF Awardee and the Wellcome Trust Awardee. In addition, Pooja’s dedication to her field was further acknowledged when she was named a GES 2016 Fellow, showcasing her commitment to driving meaningful change in healthcare and beyond.
The Jaipur Limb Technology (JLT) was primarily developed to make prosthetic components to meet the distinctive needs of Indian amputees. However, the technology that evolved has found global application. Over 2million Jaipur Limbs have so far been fitted in India and across 40 other countries.
The JLT uses indigenous designs, materials and processesfor all three key components of lower limb prostheses- the Jaipur Foot, Jaipur Knee and HDPE socket. What took weeks using the conventional methods, can now be done in a few hours because of modification in processes. The cost to the organization of a transtibial limb is INR 5000 and that of transfemoral INR 10,000. To the end users all assistive aids are provided free.
Keeping pace with advances in technology, research and innovation to develop high performance, context and user appropriate, affordable prosthetic components continues in collaboration with institutions like the Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
At BMVSS- The Jaipur Foot Organization, we strive to innovate, indigenize, demystify prosthetic design and decentralize prosthetic delivery so that ‘All may Walk’.
Al Noor School of Special Needs, Dubai
Rehabilitation Services Coordinator & Head Department of Communication, Language and Speech, Al Noor Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities, Dubai,UAE.
Deepika Gopalarao is a seasoned expert in Speech and Language Pathology and Disability Rehabilitation with over 25 years of experience in India, the US, and the UAE. She holds a Master’s degree in Audiology and Speech Rehabilitation from the University of Mumbai. Her notable roles include serving as a Speech and Language Pathologist at the Al Noor Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities and a Fulbright Research Scholar in the US. Deepika is renowned for her contributions to international conferences and peer-reviewed journals, specializing in Child and Adult Neurogenic Communication Disorders and Augmentative and Alternative Communication.