Free Press Journal

India Street View, Brail Gadget …

epundit solar

Street views for India

Have you installed the Wonobo app as yet? This Indian company aims to get ‘street view technology’ across to you. Much like Google Street View.

epundit street viewNews reports suggest that while the Government is not too keen on Google collecting data, the team behind Wonobo has got the government’s approval and even partnership from the Tourism Minister in New Delhi.

The firm is part of Genesys International, which is an advanced mapping, survey and geospatial services firm. The app is free and for Android. describes it thus: “When you launch the app, you see that the overall UI is divided along two panes. The one at the lower end shows images mapped in a faux 3D way to give a perception of depth. The top half of the screen shows a map and your current position on it. The app needs you to set your GPS settings to High Accuracy.”


Helping you to learn Braille…


Two young students visited me the other day. Their ‘gadget’ is still in a development or prototype stage, and nowhere near the market. But their work, and the thought that went into it, is indeed interesting.

Sanskriti Dhawle ( and Aman Srivastav took on a rather unusual idea for their second year engineering college project.

Their project is indeed innvative. They created Project Mudra – what they call a Braille dicta-teacher “which makes it very simple to learn the ABC in Braille”.

It’s based on Raspberry Pi — the credit-card-sized single-board computer developed in the UK with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools.

They explain their project thus: “Braille is to the person with vision loss what the printed word is to the sighted individual: access to information and contact with the outside world.  There is a plethora of Braille-based resources available for visually impaired people, but all of them assume previous knowledge of Braille. It is this gap we are trying to bridge by the means of Mudra.”

Their website at gives a good idea of how this is attained. The user places his hand on the six dots that make up Braille patterns. With the dots raising and the earphones speaking out what alphabet each is, the Braille learner gets an “audio-tactile” output. This makes learning Braille easy!

These 20-year-old technology students at the BITS-Goa campus even got a chance to attend PyCon 2014 in Montreal this April (2014), the international Python developers’ conference due to it. Way to go. A country of India’s size and challenges needs many more such solutions!


Solar, for the young ones

Here’s this solar-powered toy which offers a six-in-one educational toy kit for under Rs 700. It can create a solar car, solar puppy, solar plane, solar air-boat, solar revolving plane, and a solar windmill. It motivates students to learn about solar energy, and costs Rs 699.


An app for health

Thanks to the the WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education) initiative in Doha, Qatar, we learn of an app in Mewat, a communication strategy is helping it. The idea is to ensure that people get health information “in their hands”.

Subhi Quraishi said on the Learning World network that the tools could help them manage their own health, and also connect them with the health provision system in the country. The phones use icons to make it easy for villagers to find their way around.

Once registered, women can register their menstrual cycles, prepare for child birth through a week-by-week tracking process on her phone. Possible birth complications could be tracked in advance and remedial action taken by health workers. Post-birth immunisations can also be tracked.

A woman in a village should not die while giving birth to her child because she could not connect to her doctor, says the vision behind this scheme.

Of every 1,000 babies born alive in India each year, a shocking 44 die before they turn one year old. This alarming but avoidable statistic is mainly due to a lack of access to healthcare for pregnant women and adolescent girls, especially in remote and poor areas. Which is why such solutions are all that more important.


Gadget expo

Check this out: India Gadget Expo 2014. At Hyderabad on June 19-21. It describes itself as “a platform brings together innovators, manufacturers and retailers of the gadget and technology industry….  the program includes seminars, exhibition, presentations and business networking opportunities.”