12-year-old Alex Knoll, creator of ‘Ability App’ featured on the Ellen DeGeneres show on Thursday May 25, 2017 and left with $25,000, courtesy of Shutterfly, an American Internet-based image publishing service based in Redwood City, California.
DeGeneres invited Knoll on her show to talk about his creation, Ability App, a free app and website that will help people with disabilities navigate public spaces and find safe, reliable services and employment opportunities.
“When disabled people leave the comfort and safety and security of their own home, they don’t know what obstacles they’re gonna face,” Knoll tells DeGeneres. “While some businesses may be rated accessible, it doesn’t necessarily mean all needs will be met.”
When asked how he came up with the idea for this app, Knoll explains that it all started when he saw a man in a wheelchair struggling to open a manual door.
“So I wondered if there was an app that could’ve told him what other stores around the area had automatic doors,” Knoll says. After doing some research, Alex couldn’t find anything, so, he created it.
The app can help users search hotels and restaurants (among other businesses and locations) to find all of its specific features, including braille menus, elevators, disabled parking, and beyond. It can also search for certain services, such as transportation, physical therapy, accessible housing, and beyond.
Alex has won inventor championships, but lacks capital to fund the app. DeGeneres clearly believes in his project and she surprises him with the necessary funds to further develop his app.
Watch this compassionate, young man talk about his project below: