She was writing code when others were playing

Wilma Emanuelsson

At the age of 18 Wilma Emanuelsson had an idea for a digital reading aid while taking part in a hackathon. “I have a friend with dyslexia and I wondered what would happen if you could hear the text you were looking at.”

It was when she was taking part in the competition HackYourWorld, organized by Drivhuset, Ericsson and IBM, that Wilma Emanuelsson got the idea.

“We were developing solutions focusing on the UN’s global sustainability goals. I started to think about goal 4 – Education for all. What was needed? Where did technology let us down? I’d earlier been in touch with a company which was developing eye-tracking technology.”

She explains that when you read it’s as if someone is speaking inside your head.

“I wanted to digitalise that inner voice with the help of technology.”

Research has shown that the eye movements of people with dyslexia are different when they’re reading.

“The eyes of a person with dyslexia jump around more, but we have algorithms that even that out. And our sound recordings adjust to how fast you read.”

iTrack Reading is an aid which, when it’s working, will be able to help people with dyslexia there and then. But it should also be of help in developing more effective reading patterns.

iTrack Reading is still under development, but Wilma’s ambition is clear.

“I graduate from senior high school this spring and then I’m going to work on this full-time. The plan is to have this ready within a year and sell the product as licences to, for example, schools. We’re really happy to be collaborating on this with the foundation of the Swedish Prince couple.

What do you think about being an entrepreneur in Gothenburg?

“I’ve had so much support and that has led to local firms getting in touch. I’ve got a fantastic contact network.”

How long have you been programming?

“I got my first computer when I was five. I was a very curious child. When other kids were building with Lego I was building with code.”

Text: Sofia Hillborg

Image: Private

The text was originally published in Gothenburg Magazine 2022

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