On 11 and 12 April Microsoft organised an EU Accessibility Summit in Brussels. Marco Carnesecchi, Office manager and Lisa Madl, ESC Trainee participated in the event, which consisted of two sessions. During the first day, there was discussion about Accessibility Research and Innovation at Microsoft and on the second day, there was a showcase of recently developed assistive technologies by Microsoft and other AT providers.

Three different projects among the many presented drew our interest:

Seeing AI is an app that provides audio description through the camera of an Iphone. The product  was presented by Saqib Shaikh, Project Lead at Microsoft who explained how the use of AI works for the app to be able to recognize different objects and faces, and provide an audio description.

Soundscape, an app that provides audio cues about the environment was presented by Jarnail Chudge, Design & Innovation Architect at Microsoft. While Seeing AI is already available as an App everywhere, Soundscape is only available in a small number of countries. The developers were interested in feedback from users, so they allowed Lisa to access the app and use it around Brussels. If anyone would like to have access to test the app on their device, ENIL can provide the contacts of the Microsoft team. The basic requirement is an iPhone and a pair of stereo headsets or earbuds to have the full spatial audio experience.

Access Earth, an app that allows users to find and rate places by their accessibility features was presented by Matt Mc Cann, CEO and founder of Access Earth. The app targets disabled persons who move around their cities or travel to other places and want to leave feedback about accessibility from their perspective. The app has only a few rated places in Brussels for the moment, so the Freedom Drive could be an opportunity to leave more feedback about accessibility.

*The picture shows Lisa, ENIL ESC Volunteer speaking with Saqib Shaikh, Project Lead at Microsoft for Seeing AI