India has around 100 million population with disabilities across various categories. They have to battle through the underdeveloped infrastructure across this vast country which makes it difficult for them to get around, lead a normal and comfortable life and boost productivity. PWDs often have lower education accomplishments, poorer health conditions, higher poverty rates and less economic engagements. They are disabled not only by bodies but by the society as well.
In India, a number of disabilities can be avoided and prevented including those that arise from medical issues, injuries, accidents and malnutrition. But the health sector hasn’t developed in terms of technology & processes and hence, lacked good medical facilities and active participation. Owing to this, individual’s as well as nation’s potential gets reduced.
Technology can empower people with disabilities and elderly to live independently. In India, market size of assistive technology for persons with disability is Rs.4500 Crore. A lot of technological opportunities exist that can be leveraged to support the disabled people for enhanced efficiency and effectiveness. One has to identify such potential opportunities as done by several start-ups in the country. Some examples of innovations are :-
- Valmiki, by Oswald Foundation, the reading solution is a browser extension that comes built-in with an option that adjusts the colour contrast ratio and typography, to best suit need the needs of someone with a learning disorder.
- Barrier Break is providing accessibility solutions to assist people with disabilities in using technology and develops products ranging from vibrating watch for visually impaired to Augmented & Alternative Communication(AAC) devices for those with limited or no speech.
- Bengaluru based Indian start-up Rise Legs is makes prosthetic legs with canes which can be customized based on the purpose and appearance.
- Innovision, an IIT Bombay alumni based start-up, has built BrailleMe, a machine that plugs into mobile phones and computers to help the visually impaired access the internet and other digital content.
But still there are a lot of unfulfilled gaps between the demand and supply. Assistive technology as a space is under served in India because of lack of innovations in the marketplace. Innovative products available in India have been primarily developed in the western world where affordability is not an issue. Often disabled people don’t have income to afford assistive technology in India.
What is the solution?
There is a clear need for a movement towards grassroots innovation because innovation is not an option but a dire need. We need innovative products tailored to the needs and constraints of our country. The solutions required for assistive technology lie in developing technology & processes which are beyond the simple expansion of currently available resources.
How to innovate?
To succeed, we’ve created a mechanism to encourage and support innovations across sectors, geographies and demographics. Join BotsNBrains now to learn how to innovate and tap into the endless possibilities and opportunities of India.