Social Enterprise (SE) Spotlight
Bonny is a social innovator and entrepreneur working in the domain of assistive technology for six years. While volunteering at Blind People’s Association (BPA), he was intrigued by the size and cost of creating Braille books. Upon realising that Braille is a two by three matrix, he got some actuators from the market and built a single-celled refreshable Braille display project to play “Guess the Braille character” game with the students at BPA. That moment of witnessing how he could use technology as an enabler to empower lives, motivated him to start Trestle Labs in 2017.
Akshita has been working in the domain of assistive and healthcare innovations for the past six years. During university, she worked on a college engineering project – a reading and mobility glove for the blind. She tested the prototype with an NGO in Delhi, and one of the users was a child, who felt happy enough to call his father to tell him that he could now travel and read on his own after testing the device. The child then asked her, “Didi main ye kab le paunga?” ("Sister, when can I get this device?"). His question was a pivotal point in her life that motivated her to join Bonny in starting Trestle Labs.
Co-Founders of Trestle Labs, Akshita Sachdeva and Bonny Dave
The work we do
At Trestle Labs, we empower the blind and visually impaired community towards inclusive education and employment by building tools that help them listen, translate, and digitise any kind of printed, handwritten, or digital content. Often, individuals who become blind later in life (and are not born blind) do not learn Braille, and content in regional Indian language is inaccessible. Assistive aids available globally only support English and other Latin-based languages.
Our solution, ‘Kibo’, supports over 60 international languages and more than 12 file-formats, thereby providing users the freedom to access any kind of documents across mobile and web-platforms. Kibo comprises of three products:
- Kibo Mobile App - For on-the-go access to digital documents.
- Kibo XS device - For scanning and listening to hardcopy printed and handwritten documents.
- Kibo Desk - For accessing images and scanned image-based PDFs on PC/Computer.
Over the next two years, we plan to scale our solution to five countries in Asia and reach as many education institutions, NGOs, digital libraries, and workplaces as possible to set-up ‘Kibo Access Ability’ zones and inclusive content access platforms.
Our beneficiaries are visually impaired students and working professionals aged between 13 and 59 years. To date, we have:
- Enabled more than 50,000 blind and visually impaired users in 22 countries to access content independently.
- Created over 22 million pages worth of content accessible through audio.
- Recorded over 700,000 hours of reading and learning time on ‘Kibo’.
How we partner with DBS Foundation
The DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant enables our expansion into five other markets in Asia. Our journey with DBS Foundation has only just begun and we look forward to creating more awareness around accessibility (for people with visual impairment) and building inclusive workplaces via the bank’s network.Get to know Trestle Labs better!
Previously Featured Social Enterprises
Find out how food waste is upcycled into agricultural feed here!
Find out how GreenPrice reduces waste from landfills and promotes a sustainable lifestyle here!
Find out how Sense Innovation empowers people with disabilities through eye-tracking technology here!
Find out how Komerce enables village youths to secure e-commerce jobs without leaving their home here!