A junior at Beaverton’s Westview High School is turning heads and winning awards for an app she developed while interning at Portland State University.
Divya Amirtharaj originally started out to develop an app to help parents of visually impaired children read Braille. Instead, she came up with the myVision app that can read text aloud — in seven languages.
“There’s the market for Braille that’s for people who have lived with a visual impairment for their entire life,” Amirtharaj said. “But if you’ve developed it over time, there’s just not that many resources available.”
In preliminary testing, TalkBack needs to be temporarily turned off and just tap on the middle of the screen for text to be read aloud. The myVision app works like a simple scanner.
“So they can take their phone and hold it up to something like a billboard, a book, a magazine, and it will just read the text out loud,” she said.
Amirtharaj entered a STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — competition sponsored by the Marvel Studios “Thor Ragnarok” movie and won the grand prize of $5,000 and an appearance on Good Morning America.
“There are other applications that exist, but they are pretty expensive and they’re not widespread,” she explained. “Like some of them are only in English and a lot of them the idea is you have to take a picture and then process it. My goal was to make it real time. …”
Not one to rest on her laurels, Divya has already started her own company to improve the security of medical records using block-chain technology.
She plans to study computer science in college, with an emphasis on cybersecurity.
From the Developer:
A mobile app that enables visually impaired easy access to written content in seven different languages. It uses a real-time OCR to recognize text in real world scenes with high accuracy and instantly reads aloud in natural sounding voices with the help of a text-to-speech (TTS) engine. Though the app was developed mainly for the visually impaired, it can also be used by anyone who wants to be able to listen to written content while engaging in other activities.