Oswald Labs Launches Dyslexia-Friendly Reading App for Students, Augmenta11y, Built by Mumbai Engineering Students
Award-winning accessibility technology company Oswald Labs had launched Augmenta11y, the world's first smartphone app with a dyslexia-friendly mode to help students with dyslexia. The app was built by Tushar Gupta, Mudita Sisodia, Schezeen Fazulbhoy, and Mitali Raju, students of Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management & Engineering in Mumbai, India.
Tushar Gupta, Mudita Sisodia, Schezeen Fazulbhoy, and Mitali Raju, students of Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management & Engineering, have invented a new way of solving this problem using a smartphone app. Augmenta11y is a completely free app (with no ads) for both Android and iOS devices which helps children with dyslexia read books in the real world using their phone's camera. Using Augmented Reality (AR), it shows the text that a student is reading in a dyslexia-friendly format and has several other customizable features which makes reading much easier.
Augmenta11y is part of Shravan apps, a set of smartphone apps marketed by Oswald Labs for people with disabilities. Oswald Labs previously showed a sneak peek of these apps at the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, in partnership with 4TU, the federation of four leading Dutch technical universities. Other Shravan apps include Live Subtitles for people with hearing impairment and Visib11y for people with visual impairment.
Tushar Gupta, the final-year engineering student who currently leads the project, has previously worked as a consultant to startups and SMEs for over 4 years and will be heading to Georgia Instutite of Technology, Atlanta this fall to pursue a Masters in Human Computer Interaction. In 2018, he approached Anand Chowdhary, CEO of Oswald Labs, with the idea of implementing their dyslexia-friendly reading technology into an app to help school students read textbooks more easily. Mudita Sisodia worked on the research and development of Augmenta11y and was previously a Udacity Google Scholar. Mitali Raju and Schezeen Fazulbhoy also worked on development and ideation of the product and its underlying research.
Augmenta11y has several specialized algorithms implemented, like detecting major objects text stabilization, and dynamic resizing, to make reading more easy. In the beta period since Dutch Design Week, users from India, Malta, the Netherlands, Canada, United States, Ireland, the United Kindgom, and Nigeria, have used the features thousands of times.
In a research conducted by the team on 12-14 year old children with dyslexia using the app, they found an average decrease of 21.03% in reading time across all the students. Furthermore, 93% of the children agreed that a change in contrast between the background and the text, an exclusive feature of the app, helped improve readability. This means that a student spending one hour to read a chapter in his or her textbook can now read it in 40 minutes.
Starting with Augmenta11y, Oswald Labs has set up a Research Fund where they contribute 10% of their annual profits into conducing new research and development for such technologies and measuring the impact it does on society. "We are very excited to open up the Shravan platform and our technology to Tushar's team, who truly want to make an impact on how children with dyslexia study today," said Chowdhary.
Augmenta11y is available for free on the App Store and the Google Play Store.
Ara Isaacson (AI)