Musa Sadık Ünal, a student at the Computer Engineering Program, the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Sabanci University, won the first place in the education category of TÜBİTAK 2242 Research Projects Competition for University Students with his project titled “PIC-TALK: Developing Open Source Hardware Prototype for Education of The Visually Impaired and Creating An Integrated Digital Platform”.
Musa Sadık Ünal
120 competed in the TÜBİTAK 2242 Research Projects Competition for University Students under 9 categories: “Smart Cities and Transportation”, “Information and Communication Technologies”, “Education”, “Food and Agriculture”, “Machine Manufacturing and Automotive”, “Health”, “Defense, Space, and Aviation”, and “Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship”. In the final stage, the projects were evaluated by a jury consisting of academics according to the criteria of originality/innovation, method and process, applicability and/or usability, added value and/or widespread impact.
The project of our student Musa Sadık Ünal, who won the first place in Turkey in the education category with a project aimed at the visually impaired, will be exhibited at Teknofest on 27 September 2020. Musa Sadık Ünal will receive his award at a ceremony at Teknofest.
Musa Sadık Ünal, who aims to eliminate the problems encountered by the visually impaired in their educational lives with this project that he started in high school, explained his project and goals for the readers of gazeteSU.
Hello, first of all, congratulations for winning the first place in Turkey in the Education category in TÜBİTAK 2242 Research Projects Competition for University Students.How did you decide to enter this competition?What were the application conditions for the competition?
M.S.Ü: I have been participating in project competitions since high school. For this year, I wanted to participate in TÜBİTAK 2242 research projects competition for university students. To enter the competition, you must first upload a report about the project that you have prepared to the TÜBİTAKsystem. After the preliminary evaluation, the selected projects are invited to the regional exhibition. The regional finals for projects that passed the first stage this year were organized in the form of online video conferences. The finals were held online on 9 and 10 September and the projects were evaluated by expert academics of the field.
Can you tell us about the project that you participated with?How did the idea of this project come about?Was it a project that you started before entering the competition?
M.S.Ü: I started this project in high school. My goal with this project is to eliminate the difficulties encountered by the visually impaired in their educational lives and to contribute to their adaptation to social life. In this direction, the project aimed to develop open source technologies, as well as to create an ecosystem in which these technologies can also be developed by users.
We are developing both software and hardware for the project. For the moment, it is designed in four key stages as tactile display, smart wristband, application interface, and developer platform. First, we made an electronically controlled tactile display that can produce the desired shape (e.g. geometric shapes, geographical shapes, function graphs, etc.) with 64 different points (pins) independent of each other (8x8).
The display allows the visually impaired to make sense of the three-dimensional shape of any image in a digital environment by touching the display.
Thanks to the smart bracelet, they can interpret shapes, colors, and mathematical expressions (function graphs, geometric shapes, etc.) in the digital environment with a vibrating glove.
All devices and software designed within the scope of the project were shared freely. Users will be able to listen to image descriptions on both computer and smart devices with the application interface, and in addition, they will be able to use many educational and social applications.
We have developed an online education infrastructure especially for the Covid-19 process we are experiencing this year. Thanks to this educational infrastructure, we established an interactive online education platform for the visually impaired. We are working with Furkan Güneş (Medical School student at Atatürk University) in the project.
You won the first in Turkey with your project, do you plan to take this project further?
M.S.Ü: We want to take the project further the project especially in the field of education infrastructure. Creating more accessible technologies for the visually impaired is our main goal in this project. At the same time, we are working on an accessible museum for the visually impaired. It will be added to our platform soon.
What is your advice to students who are just starting our university this year?
M.S.Ü: My advice to the friends who are just starting will be that they should do research on practical areas in addition to academic education and participate more in such competitions. The PROJ201 course is a very good opportunity for this.
Is there anything you want to add?
M.S.Ü: I would like to thank my dear teacher Ersin Ertürk, who encouraged us to participate in project competitions in high school and guided and advised us from beginning to end in project processes, and Prof. Dr. Volkan Patoğlu.