Duygu Kayaman develops an app for the blind and the visually impaired

Duygu Kayaman (26), visually impaired herself, developed the mobile application "My Dream Partner" (Hayal Ortağım) for the blind, and was listed in "35 Innovators under 35" by the MIT Technology Review.

Duygu lost her vision because of an optic nerve tumor when she was two and a half years old. The lack of social services in Turkey made life in general harder for Duygu, and lack of textbooks for the blind made education tough specifically. Her parents, however, didn't give up on Duygu - they spent days recording lessons in a tape recorder.

The books later on became an inspiration for Duygu - and "what her parents did for her, she hopes to do for many other blind people." (MIT Technology Review, 2015) Kayaman developed a mobile-app (Hayal Ortağım - My Dream Partner) to ease life for the visually impaired. With a "text-to-speech technology," editorial columns, chess classes, and guitar lessons are now available for the visually impaired. They are also able to navigate in indoor places, shopping malls, and access pharmacies and hospital through this app.

Among the 700,000 visually impaired Turks, 150,000 of them use My Dream Partner. She developed the technology with the other visually-impaired members of Young Guru Academy. The application also won the "Best Mobile Product-Application" award by the GSMA.