IIT Delhi and Microsoft to host Empower 2019 on 14th – 17th October - GADGETS INNOVATIONS


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Thursday, October 10, 2019

IIT Delhi and Microsoft to host Empower 2019 on 14th – 17th October

- The second edition of a one-of-a-kind conference to improve and make accessible assistive technology solutions for people with disabilities

In keeping with its commitment to empowering everyone to achieve more, Microsoft India, in partnership with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, will host the second edition of Empower from 14th to 17th October at I-TEC, IIT Delhi- Sonipat. 

This unique conference will bring together leading researchers, technologists and policy makers to discuss actionable steps in creating and making available assistive technologies and highlight the challenges in doing so. Stakeholders from entire ecosystem, Disabled Persons’ Organizations (DPOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) will also participate in the conference.

Empower focusses on reaching the communities with different abilities to focus on researchers and technologists presenting solutions and ideas to empower them. Over the four days, the conference will feature various sessions including workshops and seminars to discuss the depth and breadth of disability and assistive technologies. 

The event will also include a keynote session “Empowering for Inclusion” by Dr. Sriram Rajamani, distinguished scientist and Managing Director, Microsoft Research India on empowering billions with technology and the efforts by Microsoft in leveraging technology for inclusion. 

It will also showcase key assistive technology solutions like the spatial audio toolkit for immersive exploration of games and virtual environments. Other key solutions from Microsoft include CodeTalk (developed by MSR) to enhance programmer productivity and GesturePod, an interaction device for people using whitecanes, built using powerful Embedded Machine Learning Libraries.   These resources are freely available to developers of assistive technologies.

IIT Delhi and Assistive Technology
ASSISTECH, an Assistive Technology laboratory with a focus on development of affordable solutions for mobility and education of the visually impaired was founded nearly ten years ago. The laboratory has been successful in developing many solutions that have reached the end users.

SmartCaneTM is today used by more than 70,000 blind people in India and 22 other countries. Raised Lines Foundation, incubated in the lab is today producing tactile books for hundreds of blind children who want to pursue STEM education. Devices and solutions from the laboratory include DotBookTM – the first Indian Braille laptop and OnBoardTM a device that can help blind people to board public buses independently.

Microsoft and AI for Accessibility
Microsoft’s AI for Accessibility is a 5 year, USD25 million program that harnesses the power of AI to amplify human capability for the more than 1 billion people around the world with a disability. AI is now capable of seeing, hearing, and reasoning with increasing accuracy. Real time speech-to-text transcription, computer vision capabilities, and predictive text functionality are just a few examples of how AI is useful to people with disabilities today. 

AI for Accessibility aims to accelerate the development of accessible and intelligent AI solutions that build on recent advancements in Microsoft Cognitive Services to help developers create intelligent apps that see, hear, understand and better interpret people’s needs.

New Delhi, October 10, 2019

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