ECE Undergrads developed AI-based communication app for deaf and blind

Won prestigious i-Hack Alpha with a cash prize of $2300

Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering rejoices in the exhilarating success of Harsha and Mahesh, the winners at iHack Alpha Hackathon. iHack Alpha was an AI-Hackathon, where developers from all backgrounds were invited to solve real-world problems with innovative AI solutions powered by AI and Data platform. Unlike the usual hackathons, it was conducted over three weeks, starting from December 2, 2020, and finished on December 27, 2020, and participants were supposed to present a full-fledged application. Four themes were given to participants to work on in the hackathon- 1) Use of AI in retail 2) Use of AI in Customer service 3) Use of AI in media 4) Use of AI in Accessibility.

Harsha and Mahesh chose to work on the use of AI in the Accessibility theme, where they were asked to build an AI – solution using the services. The whole hackathon was divided into three phases 1.) Ideation Phase 2) Build Phase 3) Finals.
Around 1083 teams participated across countries such as India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore.

Harsha and Mahesh found their inspiration in the story of Helen Keller and decided to build an app with ease of accessibility for the blind and deaf persons. As Annie Sullivan used to help Helen in her communication, Harsha and Mahesh thought, why can’t they create an app which can be installed on the mobile phone and will do the same! The duo turned this crazy idea into reality by developing Artificial Voice- a communication app for the blind and deaf. Artificial Voice is a bidirectional communication app for the deaf and blind to send and receive messages with the help of AI-based technology such as Automatic Speech recognition, Text to speech converter, Audio format converter.

The whole Hackathon was broadcasted online. Harsha and Mahesh’s presentation on Artificial Voice received high praise and acclaims from the judges, and the Team SRMAP(aka Team Square) secured first place in the prestigious i-Hack Alpha hackathon with a grand cash prize of $2300. Harsha is currently pursuing his 3rd year B. Tech Studies whereas Mahesh is in the 2nd year of his undergraduate studies at the Department of Electronics and Communications Engineering. “This success at i-Hack Alpha hackathon has boosted our confidence. We are working on better versions of the app and some other projects that can contribute to society,” said Harsha.

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