"By helping its visually impaired users navigate mainstream daily use mobile apps with ease through voice commands, it aims to create significant impact for this largely underserved community of 300 million globally. Louie Voice is a part of the larger effort to make tech products and services accessible for the people with disabilities and special needs"
According to the World Health Organisation, almost 300 million people of all ages around the globe are Visually Impaired (VI). Yet, despite the digital transformation businesses are undertaking across sectors, few specialized platforms address the requirements of the VI community to use basic services like mobility, food delivery or banking. VI users are thus left reliant on screen reader applications that are cumbersome to use and have limited features. While there are voice assistant tools such as Google Assistant and Siri that exist today, most of them have been designed as general-purpose interaction mechanisms for the sighted population. Hence, they perform selective actions and are not tailored to specifically serve the needs of the VI community.
Louie Voice Control (LVC) is an accessibility platform that has been built by Pramit Bhargava to assist the VI community to navigate mainstream daily use mobile apps with ease through voice commands. The aim is to empower visually impaired mobile phone users to live life without human assistance. The voice assistant, Louie (named after Louis Braille, inventor of the Braille language) provides an end-to-end program that mimics a human while allowing users to operate popular applications with voice commands.
Here’s a demonstration of how a user might be able to book a taxi and use other features of the app using only voice commands.
Over time, aims to become a global product that customises commonly used apps to provide a native experience for VI users as well as people with other disabilities such as to the motor disabled, age-related disabilities etc. The team also plans to invest in developing LVC in regional and global languages.
Even as efforts are being made by big tech corporations to design solutions that benefit a wider audience, accessibility tech is still largely under-penetrated and Louie Voice Control is a part of the larger effort to make tech products and services accessible for the people with special needs.
Having lost his vision a few years back, Pramit understandsthe needs of the VI community well. He is passionate about creating a tech-led platform focussed on affordability for these users and to help them access a world where most now engage in online activity through their smartphones. We’re proud to partner with him and the LVC team on this journey towards a truly inclusive society.
Omidyar Network India invests in bold entrepreneurs who help create a meaningful life for every Indian, especially the hundreds of millions of Indians in low-income and lower-middle-income populations, ranging from the poorest among us to the existing middle class. To drive empowerment and impact at scale, we work with entrepreneurs in the private, nonprofit and public sectors, who are tackling India’s hardest and most chronic problems. We invest in the areas of Digital Society, Education, Emerging Tech, Financial Inclusion, Cities & Innovation and Property Inclusivity. Omidyar Network India is part of the Omidyar Group, a diverse collection of companies, organizations and initiatives, supported by philanthropists Pam and Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay.