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Published in the 1-15 June 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Computer lab in AMU blind school

Aligarh: Computer Training and Machine Aided Reading Unit was inaugurated on May 18 by the AMU VC Naseem Ahmad at its Ahmadi School for Blind. The unit, a brainchild of Dr. Qazi Mazhar Ali, director of the Computer Centre at AMU, is equipped with many softwares and hardwares which removes the dependence of blind students on sighted readers and writers. A special scanning device from Germany called “Poet” is part of the unit’s hardware. It reads books through a synthesized voice and has the memory to store 0.5 million pages in speech and allows it to transfer on audio cassette, CD and pen-drive. A combination of Win-Braille and Optical Brain Recognition (OBR) software from Czechoslovakia facilitates to transfer manually-written Braille into Computer-Braille files. The computer can convert these files into ordinary English text files. Thus assignments of blind students can now be checked by a sighted teacher without knowing Braille. 

A Braille printer from Sweden attached to the Computer of the Unit works as a Braille minipress to print teaching material, books, question papers or to print multiple copies of Braille books in English, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic etc. So far it was difficult to provide graphic facilities to blind students. Now the graphic Braille permits to print art work stored in computer. This has made possible to teach geometry, geographical maps, fine art etc to blind students. For this work the unit acquired Tactile Graphic Display software from Australia. Microsoft Window and other popular software such as MS Office and Excl can now be used by blind students in this Unit through a software. called Job Access With Speech (JAWS) developed by a blind for blinds in USA. JAWS guides its user through synthesized voice for each command and the keys pressed. The typing on the keyboard of a computer will be taught in the Unit through a Talking Typing Teacher software developed in Canada that has 41 lessons and many talking typing games. It is the first such unit in northern India with the exception of Delhi. 

The Ahmadi School for the Blind was inaugurated on 27 November 1927 by William Marris, Governor of U.P. Boarding and lodging for the student is free. 

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