Dyslexia is a cognitive condition that makes it challenging for afflicted people to learn how to read, spell, comprehend text and learn how to pronounce words. Dyslexia is the world’s most common developmental reading disorder. It affects 42 million people in the United States alone and the condition can have devastating impacts on the lives of those who cope with it. In fact, the John Corcoran Foundation, a literary advocacy group, estimates that the healthcare industry currently spends approximately $73 billion a year of unnecessary costs due to some people simply being unable to read properly and, therefore, help themselves in times of injury or crisis! Luckily, advances in technology are being made that focus on helping dyslexics overcome their condition.
2Dual Inc., a non-profit software developer, has recently created an app called “2Heads” that aims to build a social community and provide instant reading assistance for individuals affected by dyslexia. Created and developed in San Diego, California, the 2Heads app enables the user to take a picture and instantly get a translation in which they can comprehend the text directly from their smartphone or mobile device. By providing visual and audio cues, the app helps people with dyslexia understand what they are reading.
Dusten Pecor, the founder of 2Dual and the 2Heads Dyslexia App, has worked for GE and Disney on technical projects. He is also a dyslexic. Dusten got the idea to create his app after becoming frustrated by the lack of resources available to people with dyslexia. Dusten also created his app with certain gamification elements—such as the ability to earn points and advance in levels the more one uses the app—to engage users in the social aspect of the technology and encourage them to contribute more to its database.
To use the 2Heads app one must log into the 2Heads website by either creating a 2Heads account or via Facebook. As soon as the account is created a menu option will pop up and ask the app user to choose the subjects that he or she is mostly using the app for. The app can be used to help people with dyslexia do everything from reading their mail to understanding insurance forms. It can even help dyslexics find nearby locations—such as restaurants—and uses photos, not written text, to help them get answers to questions such as what kind of food the restaurant serves. The app also has a feature that gives dyslexics the option to amuse themselves, such as being able to listen to audio books and communicate with others. Hence, 2Heads enables dyslexics to connect to others like them and build a community that can subsequently boost their confidence. The app could actually help lift many dyslexics out of poverty, take away the feelings of shame that the condition can cause, and help them improve practically every aspect of their lives.
2Dual is launching a campaign on Kickstarter on May 27, 2014, in hopes of raising enough funds to develop the iOS and Android-friendly app quickly so that it can get to consumers as fast as possible and start improving lives. All proceeds will go towards the cause and help make this app a widely available reality.
The Kickstarter campaign can be viewed here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1337860315/2heads-dyslexia-app
And the official 2Dual website can be viewed here: