Scientists from National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) under the Department of Science & Technology have developed user-friendly long lasting durable Braille maps using advanced technology for visually challenged students in the country.
The digital embossing technology is a technology which eliminates the need for printing plates, moulds, chemicals, and solvents, emitting no pollutants or waste and reduces overall energy usage, said a statement from the DST here.
The maps produced using this technology are not only useful for high-speed production of the maps but can also produce Braille Maps that can be used by more people for years together. It has been experienced that the maps produced with earlier technology have lost its readability and feeling experience within a very short span of time, it added.
Initially, NATMO had published Braille Atlas for Visually Impaired (India), edition 2017 in English Braille Script which received huge response from the visually impaired community. It was developed with an indigenous manual embossing method. It was conferred with the National Award on “Science & Technology Intervention for Physically Challenged” for this publication which was officially released on February 10, 2017.
In continuation, NATMO received unexpected and overwhelming demands for Braille Atlases from different corners, encouraging it to prepare Braille Atlases in Hindi and other regional languages.
With encouragement and support from the Department of Science & Technology, NATMO has developed a Braille Unit with state-of-art cutting edge solutions such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and spot UV coating methods for Digital Embossing Solution. The complete process undergoes different stages with end-to-end solutions in digital platforms.
Braille Atlas of India were distributed in 323 schools of India as a proof of concept (PoC). Along with this publication, NATMO also organized Braille Workshops & Quiz Contests to develop awareness among the visually impaired students, teachers and trainers. From 2017 to 2019, a total 1409 students from 97 schools of 22 States & UT participated in the Braille Workshops & Quiz Contests.
The unique Braille Solution Unit will be launched soon with the expectation to fulfil the demands of the larger community at PAN India level, said the statement.