KATU — An Oregon teen 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 an 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."
The 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.
Her app was different than others out there.
“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.