For Deshanie Govender, the diagnosis of endometriosis wasn’t a deterrent, but a motivator.
On Thursday, April 6, Govender, a senior studying psychology, celebrated the launch of her new app, ScanRite, in the Ocean Room of the USC.
Endometriosis is a chronic illness which causes tissue that typically lines the uterus to grow elsewhere in the body. The result is excruciating lower abdominal pain. The illness affects one in 10 women.
Diagnosed at 17, Govender says she struggled with her daily activities. She missed 50 days of school during her senior year of high school.
At the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Govender worked as a note taker for the office of disabilities, but her pain got in the way of her ability to do the job.
“At UNC Charlotte, my job was to scan and upload documents along with my notes for other students to access,” said Govender. “It was really poor quality because I didn’t always have the giant scanner in front of me to create those scans, so I wanted to create something that’s user-friendly and affordable.”
She was inspired to find a way to make the job easier and figured that an app could solve her problems.
“During my time of illness, I wanted something that could make my time of studying efficient, especially during times of extreme pain,” said Govender.
But she lacked the coding skills to bring her idea to life.
Govender spent months researching optical character recognition technology and began to compile ideas for a document scanning application into a PowerPoint presentation. Using Skype calls and emails, she pitched her idea to various outfits that were considering building the app for her.
She settled on ImagiNET Ventures, a development company based in India. She kept the entire process a secret from her family for more than two and a half years. The result is ScanRite, which is free to download and available on iOS and Android devices.
ScanRite functions similarly to many other document-scanning applications that are available for mobile devices. Upon opening the app, users are able to use the camera on their devices to scan any paper document and turn it into an editable document.
The highlight feature of ScanRite is its optical character recognition functionality, which users must pay a one-time fee of $1.99 to unlock. Govender says that she chose a price that was competitive with more popular document scanning applications like CamScanner, which charges a monthly $5 fee for similar features.
Some of ScanRite’s other features include an interactive home screen, the ability to save images as PDFs and uploading documents straight to cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox.
If a user chooses to pay the $1.99 fee for optical character recognition, the app will automatically convert typed, printed or handwritten text into an electronic document and allow users to edit the text from their phones. The upgrade also removes ads from the app.
Govender says that ScanRite is one of the only apps that allows users to save images they have scanned as Microsoft Word documents.
Scanrite also acts as a vehicle for charity. 5 percent of the sales will go toward the Endometriosis Foundation of America.
During the app launch celebration, Dr. Tiffany Chenneville, one of Govender’s psychology professors, spoke about discrimination that women in the technology field face.
“I consider Deshanie to be an individual contribution working to close the gap,” said Chenneville.
Chenneville said that she’s proud of Govender and her accomplishments. Bob Churuti, a USF St. Petersburg board member said that Govender’s achievement will inspire the next generation of female app developers.
“There’s tens, if not hundreds, who will be inspired by Deshanie and what she did,” said Churuti.
Govender doesn’t have any plans to create more apps, but she says that she’ll still be involved with ScanRite’s development. Her goal is to become a doctor who can help others with endometriosis.