Microsoft is on a front-end artificial intelligence (AI) push, including its AI for Accessibility project. The $25 million initiative brings AI-focused tools for developers to boost the development of accessible software for people with disabilities. Today, Microsoft named Zyrobotics has the first grantee of the project.
“Today, we are announcing the first AI for Accessibility grantee, Zyrobotics,” Microsoft says. “They are developing unique solutions for accessible science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, like ReadAble Storiez, that are adaptive to the diverse needs of students. We are thrilled to have them as part of our program and we can't wait to see the impact they will have!”
Zyrobotics is an Atlanta-based will now benefit from funds and guidance coming from the AI for Accessibility program. The startup is a technology developer focused on STEM-related games, science, and learning tools.
This is certainly just the start of AI for Accessibility as Microsoft says the project will extend for five years. To get the ball rolling, Zyrobotics will continue to develop tools oriented towards young education.
One solution is called ReadAble Storiez, which works with students with learning disabilities to help them build reading fluency. Zyrobotics has leveraged Azure Machine Learning and Microsoft Cognitive Services to create custom speech models.
Zyrobotics CEO Dr. Johnetta MacCalla and CTO Dr. Ayanna Howards spoke with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella last week. The company says it will continue to build AI-based solutions for reading comprehension.
After being named the first grantee, Dr. Howard said Microsoft will help push the company's ambitions:
“In our experience, because every child is different, you have to let them look at technology in different ways, more than just visual and auditory. Our focus is to incorporate interaction and personalization.”
The usage of AI/machine learning algorithms ensures that our apps are accessible and can be adapted to the personal needs of each child. We are excited about how this grant and partnership with Microsoft will help us address significant gaps for engaging each child based on their unique strengths and abilities.”