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National Award for technology developed at IBM Research – India

IBM, which has a rich tradition of developing an inclusive workplace, has also been recognized with the National Award in the category of “Best Applied Research/Technical Innovation Aimed at Improving the Life of Persons with Disabilities” for the Spoken Web project. The awards are given by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.

The Spoken Web technology helps people, who have little or no literacy or are visually impaired, get the benefits of the World Wide Web by creating a parallel system similar to the Internet. This voice enabled technology enables physically challenged people to have access and share information, do business transactions, or create social networks by creating “VoiceSites” through their mobile or landline phones.  

It has the capability to create a more inclusive society and open up new avenues for a large section of the population who at this time are most easily able to create and access information on the Internet by speaking and listening.

IBM has been committed to bringing technology to people with disabilities. In 1975, IBM developed the Model 1403 Braille printer. In 1980, IBM developed a talking typewriter for people who were blind, and this was followed by a talking display terminal in 1981. As computers migrated to graphical user interfaces in the 1980's, IBM developed one of the first screen readers to work with that new technology. Since 1985, the Special Needs Systems group has developed technologies that assist people with disabilities. They recently developed the Home Page Reader tool, a self-voicing Web browser.

To know more about Spoken Web and other related technologies please click here.