Two IIT Bombay students launch desi document-scanning app


Two final-year B.Tech students from the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Bombay have come up with an indigenous alternative to Chinese documentscanning apps. Rohit Kumar Chaudhary and Kavin Agrawal have developed “AIR Scanner”, a free-ofcost mobile application for reading assistance and document scanning.

 The app was launched on Independence Day, 15th August 2020. The AI (Artificial Intelligence) based app can scan documents and also read to users who have difficulty in reading English. This endeavour comes after the Government of India’s decision to ban 59 Chinese mobile apps which were “prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India” and the developers were inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call for an “aatmanirbhar Bharat”.

 “Initially, we had been working on developing an app to make reading easy for people who find it difficult to read English. It was then that the Indian government banned many Chinese apps including mobile scanner apps. After the ban on the Chinese app, CamScanner, we surveyed and found that people are facing issues in scanning and organising documents through their mobile phones. It was then that we decided to add scanning features too to our existing AIR app,” says Rohit Kumar Chaudhary, one of the developers.

The app is available free of cost and boasts of several safety features. “Many scanner apps require users to sign-in to their apps. Once you sign-in to the application, they automatically back-up all your documents and your personal information into their cloud. This is where the security issue arises. But AIR Scanner app doesn’t require you to signin,” Rohit Kumar added.

Moreover, the document scanned using one’s mobile camera is saved as a PDF and stored in their device only. “AIR Scanner app does not collect any information about the user and all the documents are stored in the phone’s local storage. We are not using any cloud storage to store the documents of the users.

The app guarantees complete user security,” said Chaudhary.

An added advantage of this app is its Artificial Intelligence feature which reads out the scanned pages and also provides the meaning of selected words to the user in 40 different languages.