Aiming to tackle some inclusion challenges …

accessibility icons in a grid

We found that Microsoft Azure AI for Accessibility grants were not available in August so hope our previous bid will be moved into the November group. We have applied for a grant under the title of “AI for AAC Symbol Equality, Diversity and Inclusion”. The aim is to develop an online tool to generate automatically personalised pictographic symbol sets for Augmentative and Alternative Communication users and improve image recognition for symbols using three different AI services.

This will require the development of Machine Learning algorithms using Generative adversarial neural networks to produce new and adapted symbols and we would like to garner support for the gathering of open licenced AAC symbol data as well as make use of Microsoft’s systems.

FUTUREGYM: A gymnasium with interactive floor projection for children with special needs

Another grant bid has gone into the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC)as part of a UKRI-JST Call on Artificial Intelligence and Society. This bid is about “Assistive AI for Augmentative and Alternative Communication in Shared Activities” workng with the University of Tsukuba and their FutureGym interactive environment The children who took part in the activities tended to have complex communication needs and social behaviour issues. The aim is to introduce symbols and photographs to support the gestures and body movements generally used to express enjoyment or interactions with others as part of the journey towards aided communication where children have limited use of speech or are unable to verbalise their feelings.

During September we also completed a background paper on AI and ICT Accessibility for the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva – this was followed up by a video and an invitation to run a session on the subject at the Regional Forum for Europe on Accessible Europe: ICTs 4 ALL that will take place in St George’s Bay, St. Julian’s, Malta, from 4 to 6 December 2019.