Microsoft has gifted Glasgow based Present Pal an AI for Accessibility grant to help further their efforts in ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to communicate effectively in education and workplace.
AI for Accessibility is a $25 million, 5-year program aimed at harnessing the ability of artificial intelligence to amplify human capability for people with disabilities.
This grant will provide Present Pal with the AI tools and Azure services they need to accelerate their work on a new data-driven feature that instinctively prompts presenters in times of distress — basically they want to enable AI-powered audio prompts and visual pop-ups.
The company hopes that this will enhance the communication skills of people with learning differences, while also helping those with visual impairments.
Founder and CEO Chris Hughes spoke at the occasion:
“Technology has such an important role to play in ensuring that people with disabilities are empowered to communicate effortlessly. The usage of AI/machine learning within Present Pal will allow us to really understand the needs and behavior of presenters, providing the data to assist and enhance communication skills in the terrifying moments of presenting to your peers.
We are already supporting students with learning differences in universities across the UK through our existing version of the App, but funded access to Microsoft’s AI tools will really boost the software’s intelligence and sophistication.
We are delighted to receive this grant and begin a partnership with Microsoft and are looking forward to sharing our journey of enhancing the lives of people with disabilities.”
Microsoft has also developed Speech APIs that will allow Present Pal to compare practice recordings of presentations against real-time speech, enabling the software to recognize when a presenter is struggling to recall information.
AI for Accessibility is a program that the Redmond based technology giant has initiated to harness the power of artificial intelligence for more than one billion people around the world with disability.
It aims to accelerate the development of accessible and intelligent AI solutions, while also building on recent advancements in Microsoft Cognitive Services to help developers create intelligent applications.
Present Pal, meanwhile, can be found here.