Microsoft is expanding its AI for Good initiative with investments in 12 UK start-ups. The companies are looking to offer services for recycling, online language learning, geriatric care, talking lamposts, and more.

The start-ups will gain access to Microsoft’s resources, technology and expertise to aid their product’s growth and help them ship their solutions. The idea, it seems, is to show the good AI can have on our society, rather than scaremongering about potential negative effects.

“These 12 companies are some of the brightest and most cutting-edge businesses in Britain, and I am delighted to welcome to them to our cohort,” said Amali de Alwis, managing director of Startups UK at Microsoft. “They are all aiming to make the world a better place by using technology to tackle complex problems – from accessibility and heritage to sustainability. Microsoft is keen to help them make an even bigger positive impact on the world around them, and we’re looking forward to supporting them through this exciting stage of their journey.”

The companies that will receive the support are as follows:

  • Recycleye: Uses cameras to identify recyclable objects and allow automatic sorting at a plant.
  • Signly: A browser extension that offers web pages in familiar sign language for the hearing impaired.
  • Hello Lamp Post: Lets users have playful conversations with street objects to help councils get feedback on community decisions.
  • Akari: Helps companies use technology to support employees as individuals.
  • Baobab: Provides legal tools that track cases, manage teams and ensure privacy and security.
  • BeneTalk: A digital coach and tracker for fluency therapy.
  • Chatterbox: Online language learning for professionals and organisations.
  • Good Boost: Transforms public swimming pools into therapy spaces for the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal conditions.
  • EcoSync: Cloud-based platform helping commercial buildings to stop heating empty rooms.
  • miiCARE: Specialises in the application of AI in the area of geriatrics.
  • MyCognition: Tracks, treats and prevents poor mental health through a cognitive assessment and training platform.
  • OrxaGrid: Provides accurate and secure analytics that provide efficiency improvements for energy networks.

All of the above will also gain access to Microsoft’s startup office space in Shoreditch, likely taking them out of their personal abodes and into a dedicated space. Through collaboration with Social Tech Trust, they’ll also enter the AI for Good Programme, which gives support via a curriculum of cross-sector experts.