By Francis Law
Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) ICT graduates Matthew Lee, Kok Jian Yu and Jeremy Lim have created a new app to help the visually impaired and the elderly take public transport more easily
The three InfoComm Technology (ICT) graduates, who specialised in Solutions Architect, came up with a voice-assisted app that guides the user step by step through his journey by tracking his location through GPS.
Called TrAVEl (Travel Assistant for the Visually Impaired and Elderly), it is paired with the accessibility function found on most smartphones. The user can say his destination and have the app read the instructions back to him. Another way is to enter the destination by text.
The application took the three graduates 16 weeks to complete. However, they took another eight weeks to improve it further as they “wanted to make it a publishable application”, says Jeremy.
One of their biggest hurdles was getting the app to recognise the Singaporean slang as well as Singaporean locations with non-English names.
“For the voice recognition of Singapore locations, you’ll realise that (current) applications don’t do it that well either,” says Jian Yu.
Jeremy believes their application is the best in terms of recognising Singapore locations.
“We asked our lecturer in charge to liaise with A* because they had a framework to help us with this voice recognition for Singlish,” said Matthew. “He told us that our algorithm for voice recognition was even better than their framework!”
The team also made further adjustments on the user interface of the app to enhance the user’s experience.
The design is intentionally simple and to help the elderly and the visually impaired navigate through the app effortlessly.
They explained that the visually impaired could only see contrasting colours or large icons. The minimalist design also makes the text and visuals clear for the elderly.
After publishing the app, Matthew and Jeremy plan to launch their own start-up team along with another partner, while Jian Yu plans to develop his own personal apps in the future.
The app is currently available in any Android play stores.
* – the company does not wish to be named