Microsoft announces 7 new AI for Accessibility grant recipients

Microsoft's second annual group of recipients of its AI for Accessibility grant were announced this week, in conjunction with Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 16.

The grant was established in 2018, with the tech giant allotting a total of $25 million for funding artificial intelligence-powered, accessibility-focused projects over the course of five years. Each chosen company receives a one-year grant consisting of funding, engineering support and free use of Microsoft's Azure AI platform.

Here are the seven new AI for Accessibility grantees.

  • University of California Berkeley: The university's Video and Image Processing Lab is developing an app that uses a smartphone's sensors and cameras to provide captions and audio descriptions of surroundings for vision-impaired users.
  • Massachusetts Eye and Ear: The Harvard Medical School teaching hospital's SuperVision Search app guides vision-impaired users in 12 cities to exact bus stop locations.
  • Voiceitt: The Israeli startup is building speech recognition technology that can comprehend non-standard speech patterns, improving communication for people with speech disabilities.
  • Birmingham City University: Researchers at the English institution are creating assistive technology that will allow individuals with limited mobility to use voice commands and eye movements to control digital platforms.
  • University of Sydney: The Australian university's scientists are developing a real-time brain signal processing system that can predict when an epilepsy patient's next seizure will strike.
  • Pison Technology: The Boston-based company's wearable neuromuscular sensing device enables easier communication for users with neuromuscular disabilities such as ALS and MS via microgesture-based control of digital platforms.
  • Our Ability: The nonprofit, based in Glenmont, N.Y., fosters more inclusive hiring practices in scientific fields by helping people with cognitive disabilities prepare for job interviews with the help of an AI-enabled chatbot.

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