Goa IT major designs app prototype for visually impaired to navigate, manage their personal lives effectively
PANJIM: Persistent Systems, an IT major in Goa, bagged the global gold medal in the non-stop international multi-location competition for path breaking innovation including creating apps. This came as no surprise to many, as Persistent Goa won for the 4th year in a row, albeit with different teams of professionals. The team this year was called Codeminers.
This year, 45 teams which numbered to about 600 programmers from 11 cities in five different countries sat non-stop 24 hours for coding and creating apps. To everyones surprise, Goa has won every year and has been persistent in their performance.
Started in 2011 as the brainchild of Dr Anand Deshpande, founder and CMD, Persistent Systems, ‘Semicolons’ is a 24-hour hackathon where programming teams compete to solve complex problems by exploiting the latest technology.
It started with India locations in the first year in 2011 while Malaysia joined in 2012 and for the last two years they have more than five teams across the United States. The team size has grown tremendously over the years. In 2011, 14 teams participated, which grew to 25 in 2012-2015 and 32 teams in 2016.
This year Team Codeminers created an app for the visually impaired, which won them the top spot. DRISHTI is a mobile app that leverages advances in deep learning, artificial intelligence, image recognition, person recognition, speech-to-text and accessibility technologies to bring digital transformation to the lives of visually impaired.
Each team is formed and guided by ‘Team Owners’. Team owner(s) pledge money, nominate a charity and pick the problem their team will address in hackathon. All the money pledged is distributed to the charities of the top three winning teams.
Over the last four years the teams winning in Goa have donated the winning amount to various charities in Goa – Keshav Seva Sadhana, Matruchhaya just to name the few. The total amount donated so far through Semicolons is more than Rs 10 lakh (additional Rs 4 lakh expected from this year’s win). This is in addition to the various other activities conducted by the employees as part of Persistent Foundation’s CSR activities.
Every year, where possible, Persistent has worked to include students from local universities. Last year, approximately Rs 8,87,509 was raised from the event. This number grew to approximately Rs 12,01,005 in 2017.
This year the winning team Codeminers comprised of Durgadas Kamath, Manish Kelkar, Pranav Tendolkar, Yussuf Shaikh, Clyde D’Cruz, Aaron de Miranda Colaco, Amol Pednekar, Akhil Rane, Aldrich Mascarenhas (PCCE Student), Sarvesh Palav (PCCE Student); and the Team Owners were Pandurang Kamat, Amey Navelkar, Ranjit Naik, Amod Borkar, Rahul Prabhudesai.
On their victory, Team Codeminers who won this year Gold medal said, “Our winning app (prototype) DRISHTI for the visually impaired enables them to navigate and experience their everyday personal life more efficiently and lead more effective professional lives, integrating them into the mainstream and driving social change.”