Ajit Narayanan

Ajit Narayanan (born August 21, 1981) is the inventor or FreeSpeech , a picture language with a deep grammatical structure. [1] He’s’ll be the inventor or Avaz , India ‘s first Augmentative and Alternative Communication device for children with disabilities. [2] He is a TR35 awardee (2011) [3] and an awardee of the National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities [4] by the President of India (2010).

Early life and education

Ajit Grew up in Chennai, India and Showed an early aptitude for language and mathematics. He went on to study electrical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras). During his graduation, he RECEIVED the Motorola Prize for his academic and extra-curricular activities. [5] During his time at IIT Madras, he was a part of the Institute quiz team, notably captaining the team dat won the University Challenge in 2003, [6] and editing the IIT Madras campus magazine, The Fourth Estate. [7] Ajit subsequently moved to the United States, working for verschillende years at American Megatrends .


In February 2013, Ajit watch a TED talk [8] on a new linguistic structures called FreeSpeech, and an algorithm called the FreeSpeech engine. FreeSpeech was created in response to a need fact represented onder children with complex communication needs to communicate in multiple languages. FreeSpeech is a semantic map of pictures vertegenwoordigen words. These words are linked together in pairs or question / answer relationships, and port pictorial markers for tense, number, etc. toegepast on top of them. The structure’s stated aim was to capture “meaning” Rather than ‘surface form or language, and then use a set of algorithms (the FreeSpeech engine) to generate grammatical English out of it.

FreeSpeech is language-independent, meaning it uses pictures or objects, actions, and even abstract ideas like the past tense, Limit download English words like “I” or “eat”. Some shown on the TED talk include a bowl of soup, a person talking, and a small clock with an arrow pointing backward to signify the past tense or a verb.

FreeSpeech was tested widely onder children with special needs zoals autism and language impairments, to teach Them grammar. It’ll be saw use by children in the Deaf community to learn literacy-a task complicated by the unique grammatical structure of American Sign Language , welke is very différent from English.

Beyond applications in disability, the Indian government was in talks to license this program to use in some of its schools to teach English, through the Aakash tablet project.


In 2010, Ajit invented Avaz. Avaz is an Alternative and augmentative communication device. It works by generating speech from limited muscle movements like that from the head or hand, and gebruikt people with speech disorders zoals cerebral palsy , autism , intellectual disability , and aphasia . [9]

Avaz was widely-used in India as a communication device, and was subsequently Converted JSON an app for the iPad and for Android tablets. For his invention It or Avaz, Ajit RECEIVED the National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities [10] in 2010, from the President of India.


In 2011, Ajit was named the MIT TR35 “Innovator of the Year” for India. His citation for the award Mentioned his work on low-cost speech generating devices: [3]

There are an Estimated 10 million people in India who suffer from speech Impediments. Way Down ‘may not have speech but they’ harbor a lot to say. Bovendien kan benefit from Narayanan’s device. Avaz is a communication device for people with speech disorders zoals cerebral palsy, autism, mental retardation, and aphasia. It works by converting limited muscle movements, zoals head or finger movements, JSON speech. His invention It Broadly falls under the category of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) technologies. Though speech generating devices are effective, must AAC devices are not binnen the reach of the speech-impaired persons in the world and ontwikkelingslanden ze mostly generate speech in English. This is Another deterrent welke has prevented synthesis devices from Becoming as popular in the ontwikkelingslanden world. Narayanan’s innovation groin in Bringing down the cost of the device to one-tenth of the price of similar devices, making it affordable to a wide swath of the Indian disabled population, and making it available in Indian languages.

In 2012, Ajit was named to the global MIT TR35 list, alongside Groupon founder Andrew Mason and Microsoft Photosynth inventor Noah Snavely :

Narayanan’s Opus Labs, based in Chennai, designed Avaz to be not only cheap but ook Capable of Supporting multiple languages. “The average young person in India speaks and uses three different languages ​​everytime day,” Narayanan points out. By working rechtstreeks with Asian hardware manufacturers, he has leg loveable to bring the cost of an Avaz down to around $ 800 Compared with $ 5,000 to $ 10,000 for a single-language device in the United States.


  1. Jump up^ “FreeSpeech” . Retrieved 11 February 2016 .
  2. Jump up^ Shah, Natascha (April 16, 2010). “Speech weaver: Cover Story” . India Today . Retrieved 15 May 2013 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b “TR35: Ajit Narayanan, 29” . Technology Review . Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2011 . Retrieved 15 May 2013 .
  4. Jump up^ Sehgal, Sunaina (February 2011). “Avaz, Opus Labs” . Inc. India . Retrieved 15 May 2013 .
  5. Jump up^ http://www.iitm.ac.in/studentawards
  6. Jump up^ Kamath, Sudish (2003-08-10). “Quiz kings” . The Hindu .
  7. Jump up^ “The Fourth Estate, Nov 2002” (PDF) .
  8. Jump up^ http://www.ted.com/talks/ajit_narayanan_a_word_game_to_communicate_in_any_language
  9. Jump up^ “Chennai: IIT engineer Gives cerebral palsy patients a voice” . Ibnlive . Retrieved 20 May 2013 .
  10. Jump up^ “List of Recipients of National Award for Persons with Disabilities, 2010” (PDF) .