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How Has AI Helped the Disabled?

Artificial intelligence has developed throughout the years and branched out into multiple different spectrums of our daily lives. With huge advancements in speech recognition and video analysis technology along with the constant growth of knowledge,  AI has already accomplished a lot for the average person. While many people think of   AI and see robots, AI also gives endless opportunities for those with disabilities. 

Technological devices such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home already assist those with visual impairments. This form of technology can perform tasks such as describe images and offer text-to-speech. This simple ability allows people with conditions such as cerebral palsy to communicate effectively. 

Even past the well known AI-powered devices, autonomous cars are being built with Universal Design principles for those unable to drive. These cars are already being tested on our roads for mainstream use. The growing problem regarding the sustainability of cities may lie in autonomous vehicles. With these vehicles, people who were once unable to travel freely now have the opportunity to be in traffic without being as vulnerable. Research around these vehicles themselves has been structured heavily on how these vehicles would work with the current non-disabled adult population. Results show the shortcomings of how currently, there is not much look into the disabled community. The study showed how concepts for vehicle-pedestrian communication and assessed guidelines of universal design and people with disabilities in consideration. 

Companies such as Microsoft have also been advancing in the past few years for solutions for the disabled. AI advancements have already expanded the ability to hear, see, and reason in real-time.  People with hearing, learning, mobility, and cognitive disabilities and mental health conditions can accomplish more with human connection from the AI for Accessibility program. With the intention of taking an AI approach focused specifically to assist those with disabilities, Microsoft plans on infusing AI into their services to maximize one’s abilities. Helpicto is an application that turns voice commands into images and allows people like children in France with autism to understand situations and communicate better with others. With the constant growth in AI, impaired people can be given better opportunities.


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