AKQA, LiveTiles, Publicis Sapient and Simplfi score at Microsoft AI for Accessibility challenge

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AKQA, LiveTiles, Publicis Sapient and Simplfi score at Microsoft AI for Accessibility challenge

Canberra digital consultancy Simplfi and inclusive travel portal Getaboutable.com have taken out Microsoft Australia’s AI for Accessibility Challenge.

The Challenge aimed to inspire partners to think about putting AI to work to assist people with disability, to get them thinking about how serving one market can create useful products for another: a solution for someone with one arm could also help someone with a broken arm, or a new parent whose arms spend a lot of time cradling a baby!

The event saw more than 40 Microsoft partners submit entries that suggested ways AI could assist the four million Australians with a disability. Microsoft whittled that list down to ten finalists, who presented at a pitch-fest on April 3rd, 2019. And CRN was there to lend a hand as a judge and listen to the pitches!

Simplfi’s proposal to use AI to develop a recommendation engine for Getaboutable.com won the Challenge. Getaboutable aspires to become the TripAdvisor for people with disabilities, offering them information on venues and experiences that meet their needs. But the site currently lacks the means to offer recommendations based on travellers experiences.

Working with Simplfi, Getaboutable founder Yasmine Gray proposed using AI to search through blogs and other public sources of information to add recommendations to the site, so that users can benefit from the experience of others.

Judges were impressed by the site’s obvious benefits, and the potential to become even better by adding recommendations!

Three other partners were also celebrated for their ideas.

LiveTiles entered the “HiJo” system, which collects data from a small device on school desks and uses AI to analyse student wellbeing and send reports to teachers to they better understand student needs.

AKQA proposed a “Sense Kit” comprising a combination of sensors and haptic wearables that would use AI to provide realtime feedback on the environment to help people navigate the world more safely. AKQA said its project could result in basic equipment being available within weeks, plus a platform for makers and others to build on.

Publicis Sapient suggested wearables to support people with Multiple Sclerosis, whose symptoms can worsen during rapid temperature fluctuations. The firm proposed an AI-infused solution that helps people manage their symptoms by controlling temperature, using a simple wearable device.

Challenge winners will now get coaching to help with an application for an AI for Accessibility Grant to turn their idea into reality. Microsoft has also assigned a Business and Technical Mentor to work with Simplfi and help the company to develop its proposal for Getaboutable.com.

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