The Centre for Research and Development received the Merit Award for the Research & Development Project of the Year at the Asia-Pacific Information and Communication Technology Alliance (APICTA) Awards held on 13 October 2018 in Guangzhou, China. This was in recognition of the Sinhala-Braille Character Recognition and Translation Application it had developed in aid of visually impaired students.
The CRD research team led by Lt Col Kahandagamage competed with nominees from 15 countries over a 3-month period. During the finals held in China, nominees presented projects business models, planned innovation and project demonstration.
Information Technology insights were used to develop the Braille to Sinhala Character Recognition and Translation Software by way of digitizing physical braille characters followed by a translation application. The system was developed with the aim of expediting the communication process with regards to examinations and other written activities of the visually impaired. It represents a major breakthrough in improving the ease of communication with the visually impaired and fills a longstanding requirement to replace inefficient and archaic methods used thus far.
The completed system was officially handed over by the secretary to the Ministry of Defense Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne PC to the principal of the Blind School, Ratmalana, Mr Desman Perera during a ceremony at the Ministry of Defense on 21st March 2018.