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How AI improves Accessibility for People with Disabilities

  • Pragya Soni
  • Dec 15, 2021
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AI has made it possible to handle our everyday tasks in new and easier ways. With the help of machine tasks that usually require human intelligence, such as voice and speech synthesis, visual perception, predictive text functionality, judgement, and a variety of other tasks, AI can assist individuals with disabilities by making a significant distinction in their ability to get somewhere and participate in daily activities. 


AI is truly transforming accessibility and inclusivity! People with impairments can significantly enhance their daily life thanks to AI technology solutions.



How can AI improve accessibility?


Because over 4 billion people worldwide utilize Google's search engine, AI is viewed as a societal good. It is available to everyone, including persons with impairments. In terms of accessibility, technology in general, and AI in particular, play a critical role. 


It is not only about discovering the most recent developments, but also about putting a resolution at the expense of a specific group of people in order to enhance their lives. What can AI do to improve accessibility?


It can reduce accessibility obstacles using a variety of methods, including:


  • Image recognition for those with low vision.



  • Lip-reading recognition for persons who are deaf or deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafening.


  • Text summary for persons with mental disabilities.


  • Real-time caption or interpretations for persons who are deaf.


AI has a significant influence on the daily lives of persons with disabilities: text summary allows a person with a mental handicap to readily perceive the world around him. 


What appears to be a difficult message to read turns out to be a simple sentence. Things that were once difficult or even impossible for individuals to obtain are now freely available on a daily basis. AI allows persons with impairments to enter a world where their limitations are recognised and addressed. 


With AI accessibility, technology adjusts and helps turn the world into a more inclusive one. There is a sense of equality since AI places everyone, with or without handicap, on the same playing field.


(Did you know that AI is also used in the nursing sector? Check how through AI in Nursing)


AI Improves Accessibilities For Disabled People


Indeed, developing an accessible website might be difficult, but AI technologies have shown to be a game-changer. Machine learning is used to scan and analyse the design of a website. It can then increase its accessibility in a variety of ways:


  • Face recognition using AI software to replace CAPTCHAs, which can be difficult to find for those with visual impairments,


  • For persons with physical impairments, a keyboard navigation optimization using the "Tab" button,


  • A voice-recognition or speech-recognition system, such as Google's Project Euphonia, allows persons with speech problems to access the Internet via sounds and gestures.


  • Audio description content for those who are blind or visually impaired,


  • Captions and translations of web videos for persons who are deaf or deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafening


  • For those with visual impairments, graphic components such as typefaces, colours, and spacing can be readjusted.


Role of AI in Disability


Communicating with people might be difficult depending on the type of impairment and profile. The same is true for remaining connected to people in a society that is becoming increasingly digital due to the growing prominence of social media and our reliance on the Internet. 


However, technology and AI leave no one behind and can benefit persons with impairments. Many apps make use of AI to improve accessibility.

The image depicts how AI is Improving Accessibility for Disabled People and has the following points:1. For Blind or Visually-Impaired-VoiceOver-TalkBack-Siri-Cortana2. For Deaf or Hard-Hearing-RogerVoice-Ava3. People with Physical Limitations-IFTTT-Voiceitt-Amazon Echo with Alexa

AI improving accessibility for disabled people


  1. For the blind or visually impaired


VoiceOver: It is a screen reader that is built into iPhones. Although its primary function is to pronounce any email or text message, VoiceOver also uses AI to describe app icons, battery levels, and even partial photos.


TalkBack: It is the Android equivalent of VoiceOver. It allows users to make maximum use of their cell phones.


Siri: It is the iPhone's virtual assistant. Voice control allows users to simply pronounce their request, such as conducting a Google search or dictating a text message to send to a friend. People who are blind or visually impaired can utilize Siri to communicate with others.


Cortana: It is a virtual assistant developed by Microsoft and available on Windows. It enables visually handicapped or blind individuals to navigate their computers using just their voice. It's comparable to Siri in several ways.



  1. For the deaf or hard of hearing


Virtual assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant allow consumers to fully utilise their cellphones while remaining connected to others.


Ava is an instant transcription tool that utilises AI to immediately transcribe a group of people's discussion. Its algorithm inserts punctuation, the speaker's name, and the appropriate words from the user's dictionary. 


A simple technique for those with hearing impairments to participate in and follow a conversation with many people without using lip-reading. RogerVoice, a French group discussion transcription software accessible in 90 languages. It functions in the same manner as Ava does.



  1. People with physical limitations


Virtual assistants such as Siri, Google Assistant, and Google Voice Access allow persons with limited mobility to utilise their smartphones using voice commands. Google Voice Access was designed specifically for persons with limited dexterity.


IFTTT is an app that integrates other applications so that a user with limited dexterity may utilize all of his smartphone's functions without difficulty. It develops combos with the applications to conduct activities like reading an email aloud and posting a tweet automatically.


With the app Voiceitt, even persons with speech difficulties may benefit from AI technology. Voiceitt, thanks to machine learning, can readily comprehend persons with brain traumas or Parkinson's disease, whose speech may appear difficult to interpret at first. This programme normalises their speech to provide an audio or text output, allowing persons with speech difficulties to speak with others and be recognized.


(Also read - Roles of IoT in Blockchain)



  1. Travelling assistance to move around


Mobility is one of the most difficult challenges for persons with disabilities to overcome. Every excursion taken by people with impairments must be meticulously planned. Fortunately for them, several navigation applications based on AI technology can assist them in gaining greater autonomy and flexibility when travelling about.


Google Maps is among the most used GPS programmes in the world. Visually impaired folks or wheelchair users may plan their journey ahead of time and see their route as well as the appropriate mode of transportation to employ based on their profile. Wheelchair users can find ramps and elevators around the city thanks to the "wheelchair accessible" feature.


Self-driving cars (also known as autonomous vehicles or driverless vehicles) provide a new alternative for the mobility of persons with disabilities, regardless of their limitations, because they can assist them in moving around more freely. When people need to move about by automobile, they don't need to ask a relative or arrange a service. 


To get to their destination, self-driving automobiles employ sensors, cameras, radars, and AI. By using Google Maps and Google Street View, their algorithms acquire all of the required data about their surroundings, such as traffic signals, curbs, people, and so on. Many automakers are testing or developing self-driving vehicles.


(Related blog - AR in Automotive Industry)



  1. Live Independently


AI technology concerns any field and can thus enhance accessibility even at home. Virtual assistants can improve everybody’s lives and it’s particularly striking with people with disabilities. 


We’d previously talked about Siri on iPhones. But at home, with smart speakers like Amazon Echo with Alexa and Google Home with Google Assistant, people with disabilities can control everything by voice: from turning on the lights to setting up an alarm or listening to music in the living room. 


Any home object can be connected which means that a blind person can set up their oven just by asking Alexa or that a person with reduced dexterity can lower a room temperature just by using their voice.


A linked smart home can occasionally save a person's life: if a person with impairments falls, a pre-programmed system can summon emergency services. 


People with impairments can thus live alone with the knowledge that they will be protected if something goes wrong. People with impairments can acquire greater autonomy and feel more at ease in their own homes thanks to AI technology solutions. AI raises the bar for accessibility.



AI in Medical Industry for Disabled People


AI assists the medical business as well, with robot-assisted technology for more accuracy during surgery or data collecting to deliver a more precise diagnosis. However, for those with impairments, this can represent a significant step forward in offering a higher quality of life. 


The most remarkable example is the development of an AI-powered exoskeleton that allows paraplegic persons to use their legs once more: they can stand up and walk. A technical as well as a medicinal breakthrough for those with mobility limitations!


(Speaking of the medical industry, Also read the applications of NLP in Healthcare)


These are a handful of the AI technologies being utilised to enhance the lives of people with disabilities in a variety of industries, with several solutions being developed by startups as well as huge organisations such as Google and Microsoft. 


AI technologies employ inclusive design to create products that best suit the requirements of disabled people in order to improve accessibility by using a user-centred approach. 


Indeed, AI technology gives individuals full independence, whether at home watching a movie with translations or at work reading an accessible paper, trying to make the world more approachable and welcoming to them.

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