Markham Teen Wins Ontario Science Centre’s 2017 Weston Youth Innovation Award

TORONTO (June 20, 2017

High school student Anmol Tukrel has already begun to leave his mark on the global scientific community. Today, the seventeen-year-old from Markham, Ontario was presented with the 2017 Weston Youth Innovation Award by the Ontario Science Centre for his creative application of science and technology towards solving a real world problem.

Tukrel created the iDentifi app that assists the visually impaired in identifying objects using a smartphone.

The app makes use of the phone’s camera and the app’s artificial intelligence to provide audio identification of objects, brands, colour, facial expressions, handwriting and text.

Visit for a demo.

According to the World Health Organization 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide, 39 million are blind, and 246 million have low vision, with approximately 90 per cent living in low-income settings. iDentifi is currently being used in 96 countries and is available in 27 languages and is available for free in the iTunes store.

“It is very exciting to have iDentifi be recognized by the Ontario Science Centre,” said Anmol Tukrel, 2017 Weston Youth Innovation Award winner. “Building this app has been an extremely rewarding experience, and the Weston Youth Innovation Award will enable me to further develop iDentifi for the visually impaired community. We have such great technology, and I think it’s important that everyone has access to it.”

Jason Fayre, National Lead: Accessibility and Assistive Technology at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind evaluated the project. Fayre is visually impaired and has used other apps that do similar things. “Anmol’s iDentifi app is the most responsive, accurate and detailed smartphone app of its kind that I have used to date,” added Fayre.

“The jury was inspired by Anmol’s ingenuity, skill and dedication to developing and distributing a solution that will help many visually impaired people using a smartphone,” said Catherine Paisley, Vice-President, Science Education and Science Experience, Ontario Science Centre. “We’re pleased to provide Anmol with the opportunity to share his project with our Science Centre audiences.”

Established in 2008, the Weston Youth Innovation Award encourages and recognizes young Canadian innovators. Named in recognition of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation’s $15-million lead gift to the Ontario Science Centre’s Agents of Change initiative, the award honours the Foundation’s commitment to education. “The Foundation is proud to support young Canadians like Anmol who apply such creative and innovative uses of technology to improve people’s lives,” said W. Galen Weston, Chairman. “We are excited to follow the achievements of all the finalists as they continue to solve practical, real-world problems.”

Tukrel’s project was selected for the award by a panel of judges, comprising:

  • R. Shayna Rosenbaum, PhD, C.Psych., Associate Professor, York Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory Department of Psychology, York University
  • Amy Cook, PhD, Director, Knowledge Mobilization, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
  • Marcus Santos, PhD, Ryerson University; Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs and Student Affairs, Faculty of Science
  • Eugenia Duodu, PhD, Executive Director, Visions of Science Network for Learning
  • Maurice Bitran, PhD, CEO and Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre

Tukrel will be awarded the $2,000 prize at the Ontario Science Centre. In addition, he will work with a multimedia team at the Science Centre to create an animation to showcase this project, which will be displayed in the Weston Family Innovation Centre and shared via the Science Centre’s social media channels. More information about Tukrel’s award-winning project can be found at

The Ontario Science Centre, a Centennial project, has welcomed more than 51 million visitors since it opened in 1969, pioneering an interactive approach now adopted by science centres around the world. Today, the Science Centre is an international leader in free-choice science learning and a key contributor to Ontario’s education and innovation ecosystems, offering lifelong learning through hands-on, engaging experiences. The Ontario Science Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. As a publicly assisted organization, the Science Centre relies on generous individuals, corporations and foundations who share a commitment to science and education for additional operating support. For more information about the Ontario Science Centre, please visit

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation is a Canadian charitable trust, established by Garfield and Reta Weston and their nine children in 1958. It was the belief of the founders that since it was the hard work of Canadian employees that made the Foundation possible, that its charitable funding should be directed to the benefit of Canadians The mandate of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation includes neuroscience, land conservation, education and research in Canada’s North.

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