The company is inviting developers, non-governmental organisations and researchers from the region to put forward ideas for their ‘Artificial Intelligence for Accessibility’ programme. The deadline to submit a project ends on 1 February

According to figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 84 million people, 12.3% of the population in Latin America, have some type of disability. For this reason, the technology giant Microsoft announced a competition for developers, non-governmental organisations, and researchers from the region to submit ideas for the ‘AI for Accessibility’ programme, with a view to making the lives of disabled people easier.
This is a new programme designed by the company and funded with 22 million euros to place AI tools in the hands of developers to accelerate the development of accessible and intelligent solutions.
This technology is forging a change; in recent years, the use of computers to allow people with visual, hearing, cognitive, learning, mobility and mental health impairments to participate actively in daily life without problems has increased.

Some examples

Microsoft is committed to developing this technology. For example, ‘Microsoft Translator’ which provides deaf people or people with impaired hearing with subtitles for conversations in real time.
Helpicto’, an application that transforms voice commands into images and allows children with autism in France to understand situations and communicate with others more easily.
Another one is ‘Auto Alt Text’, which speaks to blind people or people with impaired vision.

A recent inspiring example was Eric Bridges, CEO of the American Council of the Blind, who uses ‘Seeing AI’, an application that describes the world around you. He shared how he used it to help his three-year-old son to finish his school project.
Only one in ten people with disabilities around the world has access to technologies and products that can help them.

AI for Accessibility’ has already awarded prizes to developers in India, Israel, Romania, Scotland and the United States and will be receiving projects in Latin America until 1 February.