Published: 15th May 2017
This 18-year-old has developed two apps already. What's your excuse?
Swaraj Phadtare a student from VIT tells us about his app and how it could potentially solve the brewing language problem in the Parliament and elsewhere
Last month, there was a lot of conjecture about the Hindi language. Word was that the President and the Union Ministers may have to deliver their speeches only in Hindi. Considering a large population on the country don’t understand the language, Swaraj Phadtare, an 18-year-old student of VIT University, has developed an app which may offer a solution. We bumped into him at the Edex Education Expo 2017 conducted by The New Indian Express and VIT. A bespectacled lad, armed with a laptop, he introduced us to his first app — a runtime speech convertor. What a boon it would be to the non-Hindi speaking members of the Parliament. While we were impressed, Swaraj, who is in his first year of M Tech, informs us, “There are a few softwares out there which do the same, but what makes this one different is that it detects emotion and adds that into the output.”
I intend to make this app market-ready. I want to give people what they want, not what we can develop. Also in the institute, if teachers know you are doing something productive for your betterment, they help out with your assignments
Swaraj Phadtare, VIT student
The app, which was developed in a month, is nameless at the moment, but the idea of it struck Swaraj when a professor told him about PM Narendra Modi's Maan Ki Baat speech being in Hindi. Though the transcripts are available online, Swaraj thought a step ahead and developed the app, which is still in the development phase. One problem faced by the Pune-born youngster is the intentional pauses one tends to give during a speech which leads to the app switching from listening to processing mode. "If it's at the end of a sentence, a pause of one second is acceptable, whereas the intentional pauses last about three seconds," he says. Once these timeframes are integrated into the app, it knows whether to switch to processing mode or remain in the listening mode. His current focus is on making the app market-ready. "A little polishing is required," he admits. He uses the graphical user interface to be the best.
Chill pill: When Swaraj is not coding, studying or pursuing something else, he prefers to talk to his friends as a way of relaxing
While Swaraj has coded the app himself, the marketing is handled by his friend Raghav Pujari. Though he says that there isn’t much funding required, he adds that the guarantee of quality is what matters, an assurance that someone will use it is motivation enough. Another app that he has developed, much along the same lines, is one which provides the sentimental value of a story, based on Twitter reactions.
Developing two apps from scratch in a month may sound tough, but Swaraj’s parents are used to him churning out a new idea every other day. If the app developer in you is interested in learning how, Swaraj suggests that you either turn to YouTube tutorials or MIT OpenCourseWare. And if you are ready with an idea, you can develop your app using Android Studio.
But we wonder, between developing an app and handling college work, how does he manage? “If you have the interest you will find a way,” says Swaraj, adding that cutting down on watching movies really helped!