Teenager’s phone app assists the visually impaired

Published On July 4, 2017 | By Jaeybee Martinito | News, Sci/Tech

The iDentifi app in action.

By: Michael Piccoli

At age 17, Anmol Tukrel has created an application to help people with visual impairments to identify texts and objects with their phones.

The app, iDentifi, is free and it uses the phone’s camera to identify what’s in the picture.

The app has recognized more than 200,000 objects for users in 96 nations.

It states on its website that its mission is to “help the 285 million people afflicted with visual impairments by providing useful, affordable, and innovative technology that gives them a greater level of independence in their daily lives.”

The app is a step forward in helping the 285 million people estimated by the World Health Organization to be visually impaired. Of those, 39 million are blind and 246 million are vision impaired, and about 90 per cent living in low-income settings.

Shane Laurnitus, lead for Accessible Technology of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, raved to Humber News about iDentifi, describing it better than others people have to buy.

Laurnitus examined other free phone apps for the visually impaired, but he prefers iDentifi.

“With a bit of training, someone who is completely blind person could use this quite well,” he said.

“Basically, people [say] that they want to use something that can identify objects,” Laurnitus said. “I show them how to use it and it helps them with identification of objects.

“iDentifi is just as good [as paid apps],” he said.

Laurnitus had spoken to Tukrel in the recent past and the creator intends on continuously updating the app.

“I spoke to him and he said he wasn’t looking to create new apps but he was looking to update it,” he said.

Laurnitus said it’s easy to use the app: “As long as you stand back, and you aim it at that direction it will be in view and you can identify it.”

He said the app would make daily tasks for those who are visually impaired easier.

“This app is more for those who are unable to identify objects, especially everyday things that are used often,” Laurnitus said. “That’s where it’s more helpful [things like money and food].





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