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Indian scientists from Bandyopadhyay Lab, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata have developed a smartphone app called Titration ColorCam that can help colour-blind and visually impaired students become independent and more active participants in their student life.

The app, which was developed in a routine experiment in the Kolkata-based lab, helps the blind and visually impaired students by successfully detecting colour changes. According to Subhajit Bandyopadhyay and Balraj B Rathod of IISER, the app is a part of the lab’s ongoing effort to help blind students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by developing assistive mobile technology.

The idea of Titration ColorCam was conceived in an effort to develop a smartphone aid that would enable colorblind and visually impaired students to perform acid-base titration experiments in chemistry labs. The app analyzes the color changes involved in a titration, translates data into sound (beeps) and tactile (vibrations) feedback for detecting an endpoint.

To put it simply, the app provides a multi-sensory perception of colour change observed in a titration experiment, wherein a solution of known concentration is used to find out the concentration of an unknown solution.

The Titration ColorCam app makes use of the user’s smartphone’s camera to capture and successfully quantify the information involved in a colour change during a titration experiment. The application records and digitises the colour change happening during the experiment, and then the desired colour change responds with vibration pulses and beep sounds, which are the responsibility of the smartphone.

According to a statement given by Bandyopadhyay, of IISER-Kolkata’s Department of Chemical Sciences to IANS, the app can be of great help for blind students in STEM as “For blind students, mostly for operational and safety reasons, assistance from sighted peers is required for the set-up. However, once it is done they can sense the end-point of the experiment with the app and can participate actively in the laboratory setting, which is otherwise not possible.”

He also added that in order to derive best results from the app, it is important to make sure that the experiment is being carried out in a laboratory which has ambient white lighting and the apparatus for the experiment is kept near a window.

The phenomenal work from Bandyopadhyay Lab has been acknowledged and published in the highly prestigious Journal of Chemical Education in June.

The Titration ColorCam app can be downloaded absolutely free of cost from the Google Play Store on Android devices with platform version 2.2 and up.

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