The Assistive Technology Lab (ATL) at B. V. Raju Institute of Technology (BVRIT), Narsapur, Medak dist, Telangana which is part of the Sri Vishnu Educational Society is a vision of Mr. K. V. Vishnu Raju, the Chairman of BVRIT, to utilize the skills of every engineering department of the college. During his visit to many universities in the United States, one thing that ignited his mind was the Assistive Technology Program at University of Massachusetts, Lowell. ATL in BVRIT is thus a result of his progressive thinking, which paved way for a MOU between the University of Massachusetts Lowell and BVRIT. He initiated the program by inviting Professor Alan Rux, founder of the Assistive Technology Program at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, USA to BVRIT in 2009. Prof. Rux conducts workshop on â€œAssistive Technologyâ€ annually during his visit to India. Assistive Technology lab works for a very unique and noble cause of designing projects by the students of BVRIT for the benefit of differently-abled persons. This is also a small but definite step to mainstream people with disabilities into society. The foundation stone for Assistive Technology Centre of Excellence at BVRIT was laid by Padmavibhushan Prof. C. R. Rao on March 17th 2010. Exclusive building of ATL gained its physical structure on July 29th 2011 which was inaugurated by Prof. Alan Rux and team from University of Massachusetts, Lowell, USA.
ATL is setup in a very peaceful and ambient atmosphere with high end personal computers with internet connectivity and sophisticated electronic components like CRO, RPS, micro-controllers and also imported electronic components that are unavailable in India, thus ensuring high productivity. According to Prof. Alan Rux, engineering students all over the world should be encouraged to undertake various projects in the field of Assistive Technology and make its impact felt globally. The students of BVRIT feel socially responsible and are applying their engineering ingenuity and dexterity in designing utilitarian prototypes to assist differently-abled people. We are associated with organizations like Sweekar-Upkaar, NIMH, LVPEI, Enable India, Supportive Learning Center, Green Multi Rehabilitation Center for Speech and Hearing Impaired, Blaze Automation and Deque Software Pvt. Ltd. These student teams are also collectively working on a class project for an ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) patient. They have formed a society named COMBAT (Cognitive Members Brigade for Assistive Technology), which is the first of its kind in the country. The BVRIT students are actively working on various projects in ATL. For many people with disabilities, assistive technology helps them participate in society, have access to education, to the labour market, and to cultural activities. Assistive technology forms an important part of a process for obtaining equality in opportunities, participation, and independence. Assistive technology is a broader concept, which includes wheelchairs, walking sticks, and walking frames with and without wheels, but also technological advances such as computer adaptations and programmes for persons with different types of disabilities, including for persons who are visually impaired or have low-vision.
- The primary mission of Assistive Technology Lab is to ensure that students, employees, and the general public with disability have access to appropriate technology.
- To make the differently abled more independent, confident and employable.
- To facilitate the students to work on genuine projects with intra and inter disciplinary knowledge in order to serve the society and become a â€œSocial Engineerâ€.
- To encourage students to show case their talent in global arena by participating in competitions like RESNA, NASA Create the Future Design Contest, Intel Cornell Cup, Texas Instruments Analog Design Contest, ITsAP etc., which will also extend their range of knowledge.
- To create a Centre of Excellence to facilitate Masters and PhD work which are interdisciplinary and spread the awareness on Assistive Technology.
- Make commercially successful products that are innovative or which can be improvement in existing technology or a low cost device. In this process several projects can be guarded with IPRs and patents.
Article written by P. Subhashini,
Associate Dean – ATL & Student Projects
BVRIT Engineering College