Differently abled people make up about 10% of the world population (600 million) according to a 2011 W.H.O. census. Among them, about 195 million people suffer from Intellectual Disability (ID). Using Information Technology (IT) in work and leisure has become an essential part of life. However, people with ID may have difficulties in learning the complex skills involved in IT, one of the main reasons being the inability to use normal QWERTY keyboards. As modern society relies a lot on IT in daily activities, the poor computer competency of people with ID may lower their level of participation in repose, functional and vocational aspects of life. Although a major section of them possess basic education, they have a hard time finding employment. Thus, the basic instrument they need to master first is the keyboard. This project aims to rectify a small part of this predicament by lending assistance to the Intellectually Challenged by the construction of a keyboard, Krutaka Keeli with sublime features specially customized for people suffering from ID.
1 Alphabetical arrangement of the letters on the keypad. 2 Separate keys for upper and lower case letters 3 Additional keys for shortcuts which include ‘cut’, ‘copy’, ‘paste’, ‘save as’, ‘new’, ‘undo’ and ‘redo’ 4 An independent line is used for special symbols 5 The corresponding character of key pressed will be read aloud (example: If the key ‘a’ is pressed, ‘a’ will be read aloud and heard through the earphones) 6 Repetition of any key is avoided which is held pressed continuously for a long duration (relative) 7 All the keys are provided with key-guards to prevent typing of unintended ones 8 The keys used are translucent, which enables easy sight of the blink
People with ID are the beneficiaries. The QWERTY keyboards used normally pose a difficulty to them. After interacting with students, teachers and parents at Nireekshe Spastic Academy and Sneha Kiran Spastic Society, a skill-based checklist was developed. The checklist included: 1.Time taken for searching keys 2.Ability to press multiple keys at once 3.Potential to remember the shortcut combinations 4.Time elapsed to verify the pressed key from the monitor 5.Factors causing distraction 6.Best methods of identification 7.Process involved in perceiving the words while typing Thus, Krutaka Keeli has been designed (as mentioned in the previous question) keeping in mind these factors.
We have Alphabetical arrangement for faster identification. ‘Talking Key’ feature is added to help reduce verification time. The pressed key would be read out loud. LED blink feature blinks the LED of key pressed, to avoid head-lift to verify the pressed key. We have shortcuts like ‘Cut’, ‘Copy’, ‘Save’ etc. to avoid using multiple keys at once.
India's Sustainable Development
The keyboards available currently for people with ID have: 1.Alphabetical arrangement of characters (A, B, C…Z) 2.Keys up to the font size of 64 3.Different colored keys for various sets of characters Our keyboard is by far superior than the existing solution. We have had a 56% increase in the rate of usage during field test compared to the QWERTY keyboards. We believe Krutaka Keeli will lend a helping hand in bringing people with ID into the digital age and provide employment opportunities to them, and thereby assist India in sustainable development.
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