Over a billion people, roughly 15% of the world’s population are estimated to live with some form of disability. Of these, nearly 200 million experience significant difficulties in functioning. Disability is on the rise – aging populations and chronic health conditions are major factors. It’s an unequal world – people with disabilities experience barriers in accessing services like health, education, transport, employment, and information. The challenges are real and enormous. Tech giant, Microsoft is now making use of AI to empower people with disabilities.
The Seeing AI app, which turns the visual world into an audible experience. Leveraging Microsoft’s AI capabilities in computer vision for the blind and the low vision community, this app uses OCR to read a text, scans barcodes and recognizes faces, emotions, and objects to describe the world around you. Microsoft Translator is an example of technology being designed for one audience and built for many. Its core function is to break the language barrier and have conversations translated across devices for one-on-one chats and interactions in larger groups. But people who are deaf or hard of hearing derive immense value from the transcriptions and real-time captioning as well. I see the use of AI at work all the time. Design ideas use AI to suggest formatting and image placement on PowerPoint slides – great for people with limited time, mobility or even design aesthetics. Accessibility checker in Office helps one to ensure all content is accessible to all, with the use of alternative text for images or videos. Whether at work or at home, the Windows 10 cloud-based platform provides built-in assistive technology that’s on the move. For people who are hard of hearing or need help focusing, Windows allows to quiet visual distractions, highlight content in Edge and customize visual alerts. With Narrator, Speech Recognition and Skype Translator, people with vision loss or limited mobility can easily surf the web, collaborate and communicate real time, said Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India.
Follow us on Twitter for more news and updates.