Grant Awarded by Microsoft Allows ObjectiveEd to Further Develop Braille AI Tutor Platform
BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ObjectiveEd has joined Microsoft Corp.’s AI for Accessibility program to help further its efforts in maximizing educational outcomes for children with disabilities. As a component of ObjectiveEd’s inclusion in the program, Microsoft has awarded ObjectiveEd a grant that will provide ObjectiveEd with the resources to accelerate its work on Braille AI Tutor, which utilizes AI-based speech recognition and gamification to allow students to improve their braille independently.
Marty Schultz, Co-founder and President of ObjectiveEd, said, “To learn and practice braille, students need a specialized teacher, but due to the shortage of braille teachers and their limited time available to spend with each student, braille education is challenging. Now with Braille AI Tutor, we are reinventing how braille skills are improved. Instead of always requiring a teacher to monitor a student’s reading, we use speech recognition and gamification to enable a student to progress independently. This allows a student to practice their braille when they are not with their teacher, allowing a teacher to monitor their progress on a web dashboard, so time with the student is spent learning instead of practicing. We are grateful to Microsoft for sharing our vision and allowing us to take our development efforts to the next level.”
With Braille AI Tutor, the teacher sets up a lesson plan and selects the braille skills for this week, for each student. Based on that lesson plan, ObjectiveEd’s web service sends a sentence to the game, running on the iPad. The game on the iPad sends that sentence to a refreshable braille display, and the student speaks the sentence as they read the braille. The iPad records what the student is speaking, sends it to a web service, which sends it to the Azure AI Speech Recognition service, and the results make it back to the iPad.
The game gives the student feedback, such as winning points or completing a quest, and the game moves onto the next sentence. The teacher uses ObjectiveEd’s browser-based web dashboard to select skills, assign games and monitor the student’s performance. The teacher can also share the lesson content that was created for the students with other teachers, using ObjectiveEd’s professional network app, that is part of the web dashboard. Braille AI Tutor will be available in both English and Spanish, and sold to Special Education departments in schools through the US.
“According to the American Foundation for the Blind, braille literacy has been proven to improve educational outcomes and job opportunities, so we are very excited that we can better the lives of students with our technology,” added Schultz.
AI for Accessibility is Microsoft’s $25 million, five-year program aimed at harnessing the power of AI to amplify human capability for the more than one billion people around the world with disabilities. It is a call to action for developers, NGOs, academics, researchers and inventors to accelerate their work for people with disabilities, focusing on three challenges: Employment, Daily Life and Communication and Connection. Through grants, technology and AI expertise, the program aims to accelerate the development of accessible and intelligent AI solutions and build on recent advancements in Microsoft Cognitive Services to help developers create intelligent apps that can see, hear, speak, understand and interpret people’s needs.
ObjectiveEd is an organization providing students with disabilities with educational games to achieve the best educational outcomes. Providing Core and Expanded Core Curriculum games for individuals with visual impairments, its games help students learn the skills required to meet the goals and objectives of their Individual Education Plan (IEP). For more information, visit ObjectiveEd.com.
Microsoft Media Relations