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Artificial intelligence and accessibility

By Ligia Mannes

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence processed by machines, especially computer systems. It is a combination of Machine Learning techniques and Deep Learning.
AI can remove accessibility barriers through different solutions:
Image recognition for people with a visual impairment
Facial recognition for people with a visual impairment
Lip-reading recognition for people with a hearing impairment
Text summarisation for people with a cognitive impairment
Real-time captioning or translations for people with a hearing impairment or people who don’t speak the language
The above solutions can help people with disabilities with daily tasks allowing them to live more independently by making devices smarter and more user-friendly, assist with healthcare, and making transportation usage easier and safer. It can also create a safer environment for them (example, previously set up systems which can call emergency services should they experience a fall while home alone).
See below examples of AI advances that can improve accessibility:
VoiceOver: a screen reader directly integrated on iPhones. Although its main use is to enunciate any email or textual message, VoiceOver also uses AI to describe apps icons, the battery level and even in part images
Ava: an instant transcription app that uses AI to instantly transcribe the conversation of a group of people. Its algorithm adds punctuation, the name of the person who is talking and the necessary vocabulary from the user’s dictionary. An easy way for people with a hearing impairment to be included and to follow a conversation with several people without lip-reading
Virtual assistants like Siri, Google Assistant and Google Voice Access: people with reduced mobility can use their smartphone by voice command. Google Voice Access was especially created for people with reduced dexterity
Soundscape: an app that describes to blind people their surroundings with audio 3D technology. They can easily be aware of the points of interest near them and the intersections. Quite convenient to enjoy a city
Accessible documents thanks to Microsoft Accessibility Checker or Adobe Accessibility Checker: students and employees with disabilities can still have access to information in order to succeed
Technology can be a powerful tool to connect people and provide safety and independence for persons with disabilities. 
For further information on AI, click here
Alternatively, if you need further information on how to make facilities or services  more accessible and inclusive, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team on (01) 415 12 85 or e-mail