MBS graduate Divya Sharma has been invited to a major networking conference later this month as part of the BBC’s ‘100 women’ project.
The initiative, which looks at how the world is changing economically, politically and socially for women in different countries around the world, was launched last year to commemorate 100 years since women were first granted the right to vote in the UK.
Divya, who recently graduated with an MSc Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship from MBS, has been invited as a result of her work in developing a ‘data glove’ for the assistance of hearing and speech impaired people which allows them to communicate with those who don’t know sign language. The glove is connected to a phone or computer, and the screen then shows the image followed by the voice of the letter whose gesture has been made using the glove.
Divya was inspired to start working on the device by the day-to-day experiences of her own brother who is autistic. “I have personally experienced the need for a device of this kind and it inspired me to work on the project as I strongly believed that technology had a role to play in helping people.
“There is already a lot of innovation in this area, however the cost of such products can be extremely prohibitive at the moment with gloves costing anything up to £2,000. The big difference with our project is that we are using normal woollen gloves with the aim of making the device much cheaper.”
Divya, whose family is from New Delhi, first began working on the project with some friends while at Amity University in India where she studied electronics and communications engineering as an undergraduate.
Having completed her masters in the UK she is now continuing to work on a prototype for her product, and is speaking to potential investors. She is also working with the new National Graphene Institute in Manchester.
This year’s BBC conference takes place on October 28. Keynote speakers include Joyce Banda, ex president of Malawi, and Prof Lesley Yellowlees, the first woman president of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Entrepreneur Shazia Saleem will also be sharing her experiences of setting up her own ready meals company.