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Keynote Talk 6

“Humane” Computer Interaction – The role of HCI in facilitating social and vocational empowerment

Bhavani Rao, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham


AMMACHI (Amrita Multi Modal Applications and Computer Human Interaction) Labs has been at the forefront of HCI based innovation that has successfully attempted to bridge the gap in vocational skills training in India using technology. 

The holistic approach adopted by AMMACHI Labs researches, designs and implements educational and training content through its innovative Computerized Vocational Educational and Training (CVET) courseware. Utilizing a blend of modalities such as haptics enhanced simulators, tablet based MOOC style multimedia content, and serious games, combined with pedagogical strategies on the ground such as blended and peer to peer learning techniques, AMMACHI Labs has provided a successful formula for bringing technology and learning to the most marginalized members of society. From designing haptic interfaces to simulate force-feedback akin those felt while using a physical tools in real-time, to UI/UX that can be navigated by an individual with little to no literacy or computer skills, the efforts that have gone into the making the platform and tools that is today being used all across India, that is accessible to participants with no technology exposure and has been instrumental in training hundreds of thousands across the country.

This talk aims to summarize the pathbreaking technological innovation for vocational training and social upliftment while also sharing the challenges faced while developing the technology and solutions learned.

Bio sketch Dr. Bhavani Rao R. is the Director of Amrita Multi Modal Applications Using Computer & Human Interaction Labs (AMMACHI Labs) and the Center for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality (CWEGE), two research centers within Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. She is the Dean of the School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, and the Director of Skill Development Programs within the Amrita SeRVe programme in Amrita Viswha Vidyapeetham. She has been designated as India’s only UNESCO Chair in Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. Since 2009, she has led many field and research projects funded by international and national institutions, including UNESCO, UNDEF, UNICEF, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), the Ministry of Science and Technology, Department of Science & Technology (DST), the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), foreign agencies such as NORRAG, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MASHAV), and the Jeff Robinov Foundation. Her work focuses on the design and implementation of methods and technologies, especially related to vocational and life skills, for the purpose of solving social problems leading to inclusive development of under-served communities, including women in rural India. She is the author of 105 publications, numerous patents related to vocational skills and haptics, and has received many awards, including the “50 Education Innovative Leaders” in 2019 and the “Power to Empower Award CII & National Skills Development Corporation” award for the best idea on Skill Development in Southern India in 2013.

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