On March 7/8 2019 we had a stand in the UN E building during the 40th session of the Human Rights Council This meant we met many interesting people from around the world thanks to an invitation from UNICEF in partnership with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Bulgaria and other International Organisations in Geneva.
Twenty-one companies where showcasing their assistive technologies and services from alternative ebook organisations such as Bookshare and eKitabu to innovative wheelchairs, prosthetics and apps
(EPFL) Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne were showcasing some of their research into how technologies from eyetracking to robots could be used in learning situations supporting better MOOC design to handwriting. VerbaVoice has also been used in education to offer online interpreting for the live visualisation of language as captions and sign language. This helps those who are deaf and can be used for streamed language translations from the text provided.
The use of the internet to access software for the designing of affordable 3D printed prosthetics was also on show with Prosfit based in Bulgaria and ProjectVive from the USA showing how it is possible to 3D print the hardware that makes any tablet a usable AAC device with mounting kits, switches and amplifiers.
Finally Voiceitt was showing how speech recognition used with non-standard speech is possible . The system enables someone with poor articulation or dysarthria to turn their speech into text. There are examples of beta testers using the technology that has been funded by an EU Horizon 2020 programme.
The system uses Posenet combined with Tensorflow.js allowing a user to move in front of a webcam and create fun things within a browser – no downloading of programs or storage of data on other people’s servers. The code is open source and can be found on the Google Creativity Lab Github account.
There are lots of experiments that have been shared on the Creatability website with support and further resources.
Jutta Treviranus has developed a ” a guiding framework for inclusive design, suitable for a digitally transformed and increasingly connected context. ”
The three dimensions of the framework are:
1. Recognize, respect, and design for human uniqueness and variability.
2. Use inclusive, open & transparent processes, and co-design with people who have a diversity of perspectives, including people that can’t use or have difficulty using the current designs.
3. Realize that you are designing in a complex adaptive system.
The three blogs about ‘The Three Dimensions of Inclusive Design’ were published in March, April and May 2018 and encourage us to think very seriously about how we can make everything we do in our digital world more accessible and inclusive. In her final blog Jutta says:
Including difference is how we evolve as a human society. Inclusive design is about far more than addressing disability. But disability has been called our last frontier. It is the human difference that our social structures have not yet integrated. This is paradoxical because disability is a potential state we can all find ourselves in. If we reject and exclude individuals who experience disabilities, we reject and exclude our future selves and our loved ones.
Trying a “lawnmower of justice” for AI – leveling the playing field-restricting the repeats of any data element so the norm doesn’t overwhelm the edges. Takes longer to learn but handles the unexpected, detects weak signals & transfers to new contexts better #inclusion#AIpic.twitter.com/fhaEVdk0Nu
“A growing awareness among professionals and advances in artificial intelligence are transforming inclusive design, says Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft (LinkedIn’s parent company). “We used to call it assistive technologies and it used to be a checklist of things you did after the product was built,” he says. Now it’s “about taking this way upstream into the design process. What if we said upfront we want a design for people of different abilities to fully participate?” He points to the new Xbox adaptive controller, where even the packaging was designed to be accessible, or new AI that helps people with dyslexia read and comprehend written text.”
“This notion of inclusive design and the breakthroughs in AI, the combination of these two, the juxtaposition of these two in building the next wave of products is probably going to be what we are going to see in a much more mainstream way” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
The researchers are among 19 leading academics at the University that will now bring to the Institute specific projects covering topics from machine learning for space physics to AI and inclusion.
The Alan Turing Institute was founded in 2015 to undertake world-class research that is applied to real-world problems, drives economic impact and societal good, leads the training of a new generation of scientists and shapes public conversation around data.