Celebrating Spartans: Blind App

EAST LANSING, MI (WLNS) – It’s easy to get caught up in the current app fad, but how many of us can say that apps we have literally help us get through our everyday life?

Many people with disabilities do.

And an app created at MSU by a team of students could literally be a game changer for the visually impaired.

Imagine walking through life not able to see. The obstacles that come along with that are endless, but in today’s technical world there are some tools to make life a little easier, the latest one created at MSU.

An app developed by a team of students future software engineers one of them who is blind herself.

“It’s just very rewarding and fun to be able to give back to a community of people with disabilities such as myself,” said Jordyn Castor, app developer.

So what exactly have Jordyn Castor and her team done you ask?

They’ve created an app called the Intelligent Real-World Text Recognition app.

It’s app for Windows 10 that uses the camera on a mobile device to recognize text written on documents, business cards, signs, virtually anything.

The app then can read the text out loud, call or save a phone number, send an email or send addresses to a map.

It’s even designed to recognize Twitter hashtags.

The team developed the app as part of their final project as computer science students and recently put it out for the world to see at MSU’s engineering design day.

“Oh it’s amazing, we spend the full semester on this and this is also a great capper to my entire computer science experience at Michigan State which has been a really great one,” said Max Miller, app developer.

And according to Max Miller, one of the greatest lessons he’s learned is no matter how amazing the app’s ability to recognize and then act on text is, that means nothing if those who need it most can’t figure out how to use it.

“We want to make this available to everyone.”

“Accessibility of people with disabilities in applications is very important and when this functionality is implemented well, it can really be useful and a very impactful app in the lives of people with disabilities,” said Jordyn Castor.

Jordyn was much more than just the “tester” on the team. In fact she did much of the app coding herself.

But it was her personal perspective that fueled their mission to not only make the app function properly but to make it user-friendly as well.

“Being blind myself, I was able to test the application and truly see its impact in my life.”

Jordyn says she can’t imagine what a life changer this could be for students in the future, especially for kids still in grade school.

“When I was younger in the classroom teachers would just hand out a piece of paper or an assignment and I would have to bring it back to the teacher consultant for the visually impaired and have her transcribe it into brail. And so having an application like this where I could just position the camera and take a picture and be able to read and access the assignment along with my peers would have been incredible.”

And that’s just one example of how Jordyn and her team members see this app changing lives for the better.

She especially knows the possibilities and uses for this new tool are endless.

“I can’t wait to see what the future for this application holds.”

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