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Microsoft, IIT Delhi to hold conference to make accessible assistive tech for people with disabilities

Microsoft India is partnering with the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi to host the second edition of Empower, a conference that will bring together researchers, technologists and policy makers to discuss actionable steps in creating and making available assistive technologies.

The second edition of Empower will be held from 14 to 17 October 2019 at I-TEC, IIT Delhi, Sonepat. The conference will discuss actionable steps in creating and making available assistive technologies for people with disabilities as well as the challenges in doing so.

Attending Empower will be researchers, technologists, policymakers as well as NGOs and organisations working for disabled people.

We believe that integration of differently-abled people should be an important goal for any society and for that providing them equal opportunities in mobility and education is critical. Using assistive technologies, we can help empower them to be a part of the societal progress. Through this conference, we aim to address the challenges faced by people with disabilities and bring together all researchers, industries, users and user organizations involved in the creation, production and dissemination of assistive technology solutions. - Prof. M Balakrishnan, Founder, ASSISTECH, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

ASSISTECH, which is an Assistive Technology laboratory focusing on developing affordable solutions for mobility and education of blind and low vision people has innovated many solutions. These include the SmartCaneTM, which is used by about 70,000 blind people in India. The Raised Lines Foundation, also incubated in the lab, is producing tactile books for blind and low vision kids who want to study STEM and also art books.

Over four days, Empower will see many sessions, including the keynote session by Dr Sriram Rajamani, Managing Director, Microsoft Research (MSR) on empowering billions with technology and the efforts by Microsoft in leveraging technology for inclusion.

"At Microsoft Research India, we have developed artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies that can be deployed in low-resource environments. These include embedded ML libraries which can enable the community of designers to leverage the power of AI and ML to enhance life of people with disabilities in India," said Manohar Swaminathan, Principal Researcher, MSR.

Microsoft's AI for Accessibility is a five-year programme that harnesses the power artificial intelligence to strengthen human capability for the over one billion disabled people in the world.

Read More - DQ India

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