Microsoft’s AI for Accessibility programme is a $25 million five-year programme aimed at harnessing the power of AI to amplify human capability for the more than one billion people around the world with disabilities. The programme is focusing specifically on AI solutions in three areas; Employment, Daily Life and Communication & Connection.
Present Pal has been offered funding due to its commitment to improving the speed, accuracy, and convenience of communication for people with disabilities.
Being part of the AI4A programme will allow Present Pal to access Microsoft’s AI tools and Azure services, enabling the company to build an exciting data-driven feature which instinctively prompts presenters in times of distress.
Alongside the company’s existing dyslexia-friendly features, Present Pal will not only help to enhance the communication skills of people with learning differences, but also those with visual impairments.
Using the AI4A funding, Present Pal will integrate Microsoft’s Speech APIs into the existing app. This will compare practice recordings of presentations against real-time speech, enabling the software to recognise when a presenter is struggling to recall information.
For example, AI-powered audio prompts will be sent to the presenter and visual pop ups will be enabled if the speaker is stuttering or hesitating when attempting to communicate.
Chris Hughes, founder and CEO, said: “Technology has such an important role to play in ensuring that people with disabilities are empowered to communicate effortlessly.
“The usage of AI/machine learning within Present Pal will allow us to really understand the needs and behaviour of presenters, providing the data to assist and enhance communication skills in the terrifying moments of presenting to your peers.”