Industrial Design Center of IIT Bombay has designed an app named Swarachakra, which is a free Indian language keyboard for the phones running on Android operating system. The app is integrated with the 'better together' framework and will be unveiled in Bangalore on Monday at the Microsoft research. So far the app has been downloaded 18 lakh times.
According to the reports, the 'Better Together' framework was part of the project named, ' Re-shaping the Expected Future', which was initiated by the Future Interaction Technology Lab in Swansea University, UK. The project was funded by the European organization Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
More about the app
- The app is available in 12 languages (Indian) and allows the users to run application on multiple phones simultaneously.
- It allows the users to type on one phone and see the conversation on the second phone.
- The app is available in Hindi, Marathi, Konkani, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Oriya, Bengali, Assamese, Punjabi and Gujarati.
Prof Anirudha Joshi, IDC School of Design who led the six-member IIT-B team said, "Text inputs in Indian languages were fairly weak. On Wikipedia, for instance, there is very little material in Indian languages. It's a symptom of the larger problem. It's not true of East Asia or even Africa, though. The reason is not politics or social phenomena. It's to do with the structure of scripts we use."
The professor explained that Indian Languages fall into the category of Abugda- a family of script which is used mainly in Indian sub-continent and some parts of Africa and Canada. "The Abugida has a unique script structure, and text input mechanisms need to take that into account," he said.
Development of the app
"The 'dynamic' keyboard, which shows how different letters look post- typing, is designed keeping the structure of Indian scripts in mind", explained Prof. Joshi.The main story was when Android phones became available. We did a few experiments, and came up with Swarachakra," said the professor. The 'chakra' appears with consonant options next to a word.