Wednesday, May 22, 2024

In a first, trial voting through virtual reality conducted in Kamrup election dist


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Guwahati, April 30: The Kamrup election district on Tuesday conducted trial voting using virtual reality technology in a bid to ensure maximum voter participation in the third-phase Lok Sabha election on May 7.

Notably, the pioneering initiative, taken up for the first time in India, aims to provide a virtual walk through the actual polling process.

Under the guidance of Kamrup district commissioner and district election officer Keerthi Jalli, the initiative was inaugurated at Dakhin Kamrup College as part of the Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) initiative.

As it is, the Kamrup election district has been taking up a slew of innovative initiatives in this regard.

Speaking on the occasion, the Kamrup DC emphasised the significance of utilising cutting-edge technology to engage the youth in democracy and make the voting process more captivating.

She described the event as a dry run before the actual voting process, providing participants a virtual glimpse into a polling station and guiding them through the voting procedure.

With an aim to familiarise the students with the actual polling process and alleviate any apprehensions or confusion, students of the college were made to walk through with the help of Oculus headsets with jockey sticks, starting from the entrance of the polling station.

The software, in an interactive female voice, directed the user to choose the male/female option, and join the correct queue. Thereafter, it displayed a menu of documents where the user had to click the document he had brought as identity proof. After choosing one, the user was allowed to enter the actual polling room by a guard.

The first polling officer thereafter asks the user to submit the document he is carrying and verifies it. After verifying ‘OK’, the user moves ahead to the second polling officer’s table. The simulation then asks the user to place his hand on the table for marking on the left index finger. The user is given a voter slip, taking which he can move to the third polling officer who then allows the user to go into a secret compartment to cast his vote.

The simulation ends with the user being encouraged to click a selfie with his index figure.

“Walking through the entire simulation, the user gets to really understand what the real version of polling entails. The voter was explained about the ID card and the additional documents allowed by ECI, and made to understand what the request of ‘please vote’ actually entails,” an official statement said.

The concept of trial voting through virtual reality technology was developed by the Kamrup district administration with Keyur Sorathia, associate professor of the department of design, IIT Guwahati.


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