We all have interest in some or the other sport since childhood. Not only that we even play those games on our mobile phones or laptops. We enjoy all outdoor as well as indoor games. But have we ever thought about the visually impaired people? They cannot even enjoy the indoor games. With the world going digital we have everything at our finger tips. How about making digitization helpful for the visually impaired?
Shaashank Sivakumar an engineering student from Chennai has given a thought to this brilliant idea. Having played chess for over 15 years, he have always been amazed on how visually impaired individuals could perform on par with grandmasters. After performing meticulous research on how such people improve their skills, it was really disheartening to note that there was no existing system that helps them to train or practice. Being Computer Science engineers, Shaashank, along with two of his classmates (S. Priyanka and V. Sriram) took this up as their final year project. Since chess is one of the very few games that visually challenged individuals can participate in, he strongly believed it will be beneficial to all the visually challenged people.
The system they are building is still in prototype phase and they are working to improvise it. They are planning to bring games for the visually impaired which will be powered solely by voice commands. With the use of algorithms and various learning machine tools they plan to train the system with games played by humans. A repository of over 5 million games will be used for this purpose. This will ensure that the user doesn’t get outsmarted by the system easily and he/she will feel like the opponent is a human and not a computer.
For Shaashank and his team building this system is not an easy task. They have to face challenges to understand the movements and skills of visually impaired people. They have to get acknowledged with the learning and thinking process of these people. Based on these inputs the algorithms has to be designed and it is a big challenge to put human emotions and thinking into the game. The other main challenge is the time constraint. They plan to finish this product by the starting of next year so that it can be deployed during the Blind Chess Olympiad 2016.
It is really a very innovative idea designed by a trio college students which can help the visually impaired to enjoy the excitement and challenges of the game. Chess, as an indoor game does not require physical activity and would be easy for the visually impaired people to play. With the aids provided by the system developed by Shaashank and his team it will definitely help the sports industry to nurture a different sector altogether. With this innovation the visually impaired people can also take part in the competitive games conducted across international level. It might turn out to be a path-breaking innovation if successful.