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Aipoly: the new app reading images

How the young Italian Albert Rizzoli gives a significant contribution to the technologies for blind people

Aipoly: the new app reading images

Claudia Astarita


Ready to be downloaded from Applestore in November 2015, the innovative tool is able to describe an image in about 20 seconds. Only by approaching the mobile phone to the picture, Aipoly is able to send it to an online server that compares it with millions of images and with more than three hundred thousand objects. As soon as it finds the corresponding one, the server sends the answer back, allowing the person who is using the app to know what is in from of him or her.

The brilliant inventors are Alberto Rizzoli (Italian, 22 years old) and Marita Cheng (Australian, 26 years old). Alberto is the son of the former editor of the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Angelo Rizzoli, and the politician Melania De Nichilo. After his graduation in Company Management, Alberto went to California thanks to a generous financial support offered Google to develop Aipoly at Singularity University. This institution was created in 2008 by Raymond Kurzweil, a famous expert in technologies for blind people. By the same token, Marita distinguished herself as well, being awarded as "youngster of the year 2012" in her country.

The young Italian inventor explained to Corriere della Sera how Aipoly was conceived.  Looking at robots, Rizzoli started thinking about the difficulties they have in recognizing the physical world. In order to overcome this problem, some engineers invented a system of semantic narration. Aipoly was originated by this idea. In fact, it identifies and describes the figures and their position. Moreover, the app is quite precise in recognizing the colours, roles and actions. Nevertheless, it is important to add more and more images to the database so that a greater number of objects could be better described. Although Rizzoli already thinks about further improvements, nearly one hundred blind people have tried Aipoly so far and all of them were enthusiast.

Certainly, the young Italian Rizzoli made a significant technological but also social contribution. In fact, Aipoly stands as a helpful tool for people who can not see who - in a few seconds - are now able to get a complete and detailed picture of the what surrounds them.

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