17-year old Anmol Tukrel from Markham Ontario has built an IOS app that identifies pretty much anything. Called iDentifi (and pronounced ‘identify’) it sees for you. In his own words, iDentifi “uses deep learning and a special interface to enable a visually impaired user to click a photo and can recognize virtually any object, brand, color, facial expression, handwriting and text, and provide the user with an audible description.”
It even identifies handwriting. For some of us who write terribly, thanks to our computers and other devices, that may be its most impressive feature.
Growing up in the GTA, Tukrel regularly visited family in his parents’ native India. An aunt in the city of Prune ran the K. K. Institute, a hospital that provides eye care for those who can’t afford it. The work he saw there inspired him to do the same.
The free app has three levels, or ‘modes’ of identification. Depending on how detailed you want the description of the given object in your photo to be, it will identify that item on the supermarket shelf in front of you as, say: 1) a can of pop, 2) a can of Coke or Pepsi or even 3) read the tiny ingredient text on the label.
Using machine learning, iDentifi sees hundreds of thousands of pictures, taking in patterns and shapes, and ‘learns’ how to identify objects.
“It might struggle with a piece of abstract art that even we can’t understand, ” Tukrol admitted in a recent interview on CBC radio. The app identifies objects in between 2 and 10 seconds, depending on which mode the user selects.
The app recently won the 2017 Weston Innovation Award, presented by the Ontario Science Centre. Young Tukrol looks forward to beginning his post-secondary studies at Stanford University this coming September. You probably know that’s just up the road from Silicon Valley.
Currently used in 96 countries, IDentifi is available free in 27 languages on the app store on iTunes. You probably also know that store is not to be confused with the extremely popular Creditview Eye-tunes Song of the Day.