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Russian developer of soft for non-speaking people may fail to get to UN summit

May 12, 11:13 UTC+3 St PETERSBURG
The young developer's family has no money to pay for the trip while the UN won't pay for it as Russia is not in the list of third-world countries
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© Denis Rusinov/ITAR-TASS

St PETERSBURG, May 11. /TASS/. A high school student from St Petersburg who has designed a number of software products for non-speaking people may turn out unable to make a report at the UN humanitarian summit in Istanbul at the end of this month because of the absence of money, the boy's mother, Yulia Vassilchikova said on Wednesday.

The young developer, Ivan Bakaidov, submitted a report on his personal experience with alternative communications to a jury panel selecting the participants in the UN humanitarian summit scheduled for May 23 and May 24. A total of 74 people took part in the bidding contest where the delegates to the summit were selected and Ivan eventually found himself on the list of twenty winners, who received invitations from the UN.

The problem is that neither the student nor his mother have money for the trip now.

"We received an official reply from the UN saying they didn't include Russia in the list of third-world countries and hence they couldn't pay for Ivan's participation while the sponsor we had has revised his own decision," Yulia Vassilchikova told a news conference at the TASS regional center in St Petersburg.

The boy has infantile cerebral palsy and therefore he has serious problems with speech communications. He communicated with reporters at the news conference with assistance from his mother who acted as an interpreter.

In spite of his very young age, he has designed some software products to facilitate alternative communications.

"Introduction of alternative communication improved my personal life dramatically," he said. "Without it I wouldn't have ever achieved what I've achieved by now just because you wouldn't understand me," he told reporter with the aid of a viewgraph.

Ivan has developed four software products for supporting alternative communications DisQwerty, DisType, DisTalk, and DisCoin game.

DisType is a text-to-speech converter that also keeps frequently used phrases. DisTalk is based on the use of icons and offers an opportunity to children and adults likewise in routine life outside the classroom and in the education process.

DisCoin is a game for mastering the principle of searching and selection by a single button that is used in specialized keypads, for instance, in DisQwerty.

In DisQwerty, the Russian layout is displayed on the screen and the lines regularly get blackened one by one. When a needed line becomes blackened, the user is supposed to press the button, thus transferring the option into a line where letters will be highlighted one by one. To select a needed letter, the user is expected to press the button at a certain moment.

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