The fourth point of the United Nations SDG ensures that everyone has access to and receives a quality education inclusively and equitably, covering all races and groups, including blind people with limitations in getting an equal quality of education. According to The Lancet Global Health Commission, in 2020, of the 596 million people with vision impairment worldwide, 43.4 million of them suffered complete blindness.
Hoping to aid those with vision impairment to gain quality education, a few students from the Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology Universitas Sumatera Utara created a learning application for modern mobile devices. The team, chaired by Khairul Imam along with Fitri Aulia Fadillah Nasution, Eric Martin, Muhammad Ghozali, and Farhan Doli Fadhiil Siagian, and supervised by Dr. Amalia, ST., MT., concluded that one of the major problems faced by visually-impaired people is the limited and expensive resources available to them, such as braille books while themselves having the low ability to read braille. They also need access to alternative sources, such as audiobooks in the Indonesian language. The team’s answer to these problems is Literaku, a mobile learning application for vision-impairment sufferers.
The team initiated the Literaku application as an innovative, solution-based application based on Google Cloud APIs technology to improve literacy for blind people. The application contributes to maximizing the use of Indonesian voice commands by understanding the meaning of the closest word through Natural Language Processing support to assist the user in finding materials and carrying out all activities in the application. Literaku application can be used to complement and even substitute braille-format books.
Literaku works by converting various visual forms into vocals. A wide range of materials, such as Portable Document Format (PDF) textbooks, scientific articles, modules, novels, and comics, can be converted using the Screen Reader feature. The app is designed with user-friendliness in mind; thanks to integrated Google Cloud APIs and a speech interface, this allows blind users to start, browse, and operate the application by themselves.
The application has undergone several tests to obtain accurate user experience feedback and ensure efficiency. The team has gained highly pleasing results from users, who rated the application’s usability testing level at 100% and satisfaction level at 89.60%.
Literaku gained national recognition and success in 2022 when the team made it into the National Student Scientific Week (PIMNAS) finals after receiving funding from the Indonesian Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology. The team has successfully obtained copyrights for Literaku, published it at an international conference, and made it available on the Play Store for free. The team continues to develop and optimize the application to expand its impact by implementing it for visually-impaired students at a special-needs school SLBA YAPENTRA in Tanjung Morawa, Medan, North Sumatra, through a Community Service program. The team hopes that Literaku will excite the visually impaired in Indonesia, especially students, to explore their potential and open a new page in their life by giving access to a literacy application packed with educational and entertaining resources that are free and fun to use.