(Redmond, WA, Thursday, May 16, 2019) – The eighth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 16 was designed to help more people learn about the importance of digital accessibility and the role technology can play to empower people with disabilities. Microsoft is announcing seven new grantees that were accepted into their AI for Accessibility program, a $25 million grant program that harnesses the power of AI to amplify human capability for the more than one billion people around the world with a disability.

New Grantees:

  • Our Ability (Glenmont, NY) is furthering its inclusive hiring work by developing an intuitive AI-powered chatbot to help employment seekers with cognitive disabilities better prepare for job interviews.
  • University of Sydney (Australia) researchers are developing a wearable sensory warning system to help the 75 million people living with epilepsy better predict and manage seizures to live more independently.
  • Pison Technology (Boston, MA) is developing a wrist-wearable system that offers individuals with neuromuscular disabilities such as ALS and MS the ability to control digital platforms and devices will microgesture
  • Voiceitt (Ramat Gan, Israel) is building a speech recognition app designed to understand non-standard speech patterns to provide individuals with speech disabilities a more accessible real-time communication platform.
  • Birmingham City University (United Kingdom) researchers are developing a system that enables people with limited mobility to control digital platforms using voice commands and the movement of their eyes.
  • Massachusetts Eye and Ear (Boston, MA) researchers are working on a vision assistance mobile app that offers enhanced location and navigation services for people who are blind or have low vision.
  • University of California Berkley (Berkley, CA) researchers are creating a mobile app for individuals who are blind or have low-vision to provide captions and audio descriptions of their surroundings.

Technology can play an important role to empower people with disabilities. We are just beginning to see the impact that AI will have to help drive innovation. That is why we continually accept applications for grants in our AI for Accessibility program and encourage inventors to enter the AI for Good Idea Challenge.

Apply for an AI for Accessibility Grant: Developers, NGOs, academics, researchers, and inventors from all over the world are welcome to apply for a grant to accelerate their work for people with disabilities any time throughout the next four years. The application and additional details can be found at aka.ms/grant. Apply for the AI for Good Idea Challenge: We’re also inviting developers, students, and data scientists to submit ideas that use AI to improve sustainability and accessibility for a chance to win $10,000 in Azure credits and a Surface Book 2. Applications can be submitted here through June 26, 2019.

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