For every problem he sees, a teenager from Bosnia and Herzegovina creates a mobile application

After noticing a need or a problem in society, 19-year-old Kenan Mahmutagić from Bosanska Gradiška starts thinking about how he could offer a solution with a mobile application.

Seeing the popularization of ornithology (a branch of zoology that deals with the study of birds) and  birdwatching  , 19-year-old Kenan Mahmutagić from Bosanska Gradiška created the FotoBird application, which with the help of artificial intelligence makes it easier to recognize birds around the world.

“FotoBird works so that users can take a photo of a bird, and then the application recognizes which bird it is with the help of artificial intelligence and provides useful information about that bird,” says Mahmutagić.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, he explains that the FotoBird application can currently recognize more than 50 species of birds, and offers users more than 60 species of birds divided into six categories.

“Also, users can add birds to their collection with information about name, date added, sex and a short description. This application will be useful to bird lovers because it will make it easier for them to recognize and track information about birds,” he points out.

This application is currently available for download through the Google Play store, but Mahmutagić plans to “translate” it into other languages ​​and develop a version for iOS.

Ten active applications

But FotoBird is the latest in a series of applications created by this nineteen-year-old technology enthusiast. He has been participating in the m:tel App competition for years, for which he created ten mobile applications, four of which entered the Top 5.

(Released to Al Jazeera)

Some of these applications are: Smart Easy Education – an application that makes it easier for students to learn through forums, track grades and more; Be Healthy – an application that provided statistics on the number of people infected during the pandemic and a health forum; HomeForMe – an app with a forum for home design ideas and augmented reality technology for visualizing furniture; Digital Farmer – an innovative mobile application to support farmers in increasing productivity.

He created 25 applications for the Google Play store, of which 10 are currently active.

“The most successful is FotoPlant, an educational application that has more than 35,000 downloads, which recognizes plants with the help of artificial intelligence,” says Mahmutagić. “Also, there’s the Tic Tac Toe game with more than 6,500 downloads and the Wisdom app with more than 2,500 downloads. All my apps together have more”.

Inspiration from everyday life

Mahmutagić, who graduated from the Technical School in Grado this year, majoring in mechatronics, began to show interest in technology as a boy.

“As a child I loved playing video games and I noticed that one game was missing certain features. That encouraged me to create my own version of that game,” he recalls.

From the sixth grade of elementary school, he told us, he ran his blog about video games, and three years later he started making his first mobile games and applications, and publishing them on the Google Play store.

“The acquisition of knowledge took place through searching the Internet, YouTube services, forums dedicated to programming, and reading IT magazines. Also, I work on new projects every day, I set myself new challenges and in this way I expand my knowledge and abilities”, he says.

He draws inspiration for new applications from everyday life, he adds. He also explains that, after noticing a need or a problem in society, he starts thinking about how he could offer a solution with a mobile application. So, for example, he is currently working on the development of the Dermal application, which will help users recognize skin diseases with the help of images and AI technology.

“I believe that AI is the future of mobile application development and that in the near future almost every application will have a part based on the use of artificial intelligence”, he points out. “However, I am also aware of the potential dangers of AI and advocate for its responsible application and regulation by legislation to maximize benefits and minimize risks.”

Positive reactions

The reactions of his friends and surroundings to his work are mostly positive, he tells us, emphasizing that he is mostly supported by younger people and students just entering high school, because they are interested in the way he creates mobile applications.

“Of course, there are always those who do not understand the complexity of working on such projects, but it is important that I have the support of friends, local media and journalists who follow and promote my work. I am grateful that I am the winner of the city’s public recognition for the contribution to the development of information technologies on the Day of the City of Gradiška, and that further motivates me”, he points out.

Mahmutagić is currently independently engaged in all things related to the development of the applications he is working on, but he says that in situations when he needs help or faster completion of the project, he hires several friends from his class.

“We divide the work according to interests and skills, including brainstorming, writing descriptions, designing, programming, editing and marketing apps,” he says.

(Released to Al Jazeera)

His professional role models are Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg when it comes to international technology entrepreneurs, while from the Balkans they are the creators of the My Talking Tom game from Slovenia, Damir Sabol, creator of the mobile application Photomath, and Alan Sumina, founder of the mobile gaming company Nanobit.

In the coming period, Mahmutagić plans to continue his education and professional development at some higher education institution. In addition, he plans to start his own private business that will deal with mobile app development, video games, video editing, websites, digital marketing, design and other services for various clients.

“Also, I have a new idea for the development  of a chatbot  called Aria, which will innovatively use AI to answer questions, provide assistance in daily activities and increase user productivity,” reveals Mahmutagić at the end of the conversation.