Introducing iDentifi: A Mobile App For The Visually Impaired
iDentifi is a new mobile app (it can be downloaded for free from the App Store) that allows users to point their smartphone’s camera at a specific object, and then get a description of the object immediately afterwards. The concept of an app that can identify objects is not a new idea, but iDentifi is certainly one of the first to be designed specifically for visually impaired people, and even comes with support for several different languages.
iDentifi is the brainchild of one Anmol Tukrel, a 12th grade student who hails from the city of Toronto in Canada. Turkel started developing the app last year upon discovering the potential benefits of machine learning and computer vision. He began by experimenting with a neural network he developed on his own. Later he learned that certain application program interfaces (APIs) made available for public use were capable of delivering sufficient speed and accuracy for him to focus on other aspects of his app. iDentifi certainly takes full advantage of Google Vision, CloudSight, and Google Translate, which is a good thing because these services are generally considered trusted names.
For the other parts of his mobile app, Tukrel decided to design them for users with sight related problems. The interface makes clever use of bright colors and simple graphics that come with spoken cues when tapped by the user. Other features include an easy to use camera interface, plus options for adjusting modes for identifying objects.
The iDentifi mobile app also has the ability to read text messages, product packaging labels, food menus, pages of books, and even covers of magazines. Sure, Braille is already widely used, but it is not always present when a visually impaired user is at the grocery store trying to buy the right brand of milk.
Tukrel’s iDentifi has already garnered praise from several Canadian academic institutions, and the mobile app has also been featured in several Canadian TV and radio shows. More importantly, Tukrel has started working with a number of organizations, especially those representing people with visual problems.
Far from being done, Tukrel is now looking forward to continue developing the iDentifi mobile app, especially in finishing a version that also works for devices powered by Google’s Android, the most widely used mobile operating system in the world right now. The student has already pointed out the features he wants to incorporate next, which include support for more than 90 languages, automatic focus, object recognition via video, panoramic mode for use in streets (recognizing street signs, and many others.