First-year student of UCU develops a device for visually impaired people
Recently, a student of the Computer Science Program, 17-year-old Dmytro Lopushansky returned from the third international competition, this time in Singapore – and for the third time with the gold medal. The boy has been granted such awards for the HelpyEyes device, on which he has been working for a year and a half, Дивись.info reports.
Dmytro's device can perform 3 functions: detect color, measure light level, and warn about obstacles in the vicinity. The development should help people with severe visual impairment solve some of the problems they face on a daily basis. The device itself is quite compact, its size can be compared with a pocket flashlight. However, this development is not the first for the student. During his last school years, he attended a programming course, where he and a friend started a chatbot for Telegram called NewsKit. The bot analyzes the latest publications from 50 news sites in four languages and, based on a special algorithm, generates a personalized selection of news articles for each user, which it sends at a convenient time.
Now the bot is used by almost 1000 people, which Dmytro considers a good result. The boy is still working on NewsKit. As for the newer project, explains: to create it in the format of an application for a smartphone would not be prudent; for example, there is software for blind people, but it is much more convenient to use a portable device. The student thought about the idea of the device last summer when he was considering the possibility of creating a social project. "Despite previous research, I already knew that startups often take on ideas that don't solve real problems. But I wanted to really help someone with my skills in electronics and programming, although in fact, I did not know who could benefit from my help. So I decided that it would be best if the request was submitted by those who are in need of something," says Dmytro.
Then the boy turned to Oksana Potymko, head of the resource center for educational information technologies for people with special needs, who is also a visually-impaired person. She said that it would be useful to have a color determinant; there are foreign analogues, but they are quite expensive. The student decided to add the functionality of the device to determine the level of illumination and obstacles later when he joined the meetings with the parents of blind children in the club "Who's next". After a long discussion, Dmytro started development last year in October. Gradually improving the idea with the help of the volunteers from among the visually-impaired people, the boy managed to reduce the first version of the developed device by 72%. He intends to further improve it, for example, adding a printed circuit board and a headphone output.
Dmytro's prototype now has a cost price of 1200 UAH. This price is significantly lower compared to competitors' devices, which offer only one function and cost from 2000 UAH. Dmytro was preparing his idea for the Lesser Academy of Sciences, thanks to which he got into international competitions. The boy already went this year to ICYS (International Conference of Young Scientists) in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and to OKSEF (Exhibition-competition in the field of technical sciences and energy) in Izmir, Turkey and at the AIGC (Advanced Innovation Global Competition) in Singapore - every time he returns with a golden award. Now he will produce the final version, which can already be released in a small batch. Dmytro plans to distribute the product on the Ukrainian market.
"Overall, I am very happy that we managed to implement such an initiative. This is the greatest thing I could have dreamed of because the opportunity to help is very important. I hope that I will be able to solve the problems for which my device was designed," concludes the young developer.