Microsoft funds AI navigation app to aid visually impaired

Microsoft has funded iMerciv’s development of an AI accessibility app designed to help visually or mobility impaired people navigate crowded city streets. Microsoft has announced its plan to fund 11 organisation’s research under the Microsoft AI for Accessibility programme.

Microsoft funds AI navigation app to aid visually impaired
Microsoft funds AI navigation app to aid visually impaired

Microsoft funds AI navigation app to aid visually impaired

Microsoft has funded iMerciv’s development of an AI accessibility app designed to help visually or mobility impaired people navigate crowded city streets. Microsoft has announced its plan to fund 11 organisation’s research under the Microsoft AI for Accessibility programmeiMerciv is a Toronto-based start-up included in the initiative. The five-year CA$25mn project is aimed to design AI tools that enable people with disabilities. The technology will offer more independence and support to those it could benefit most.

iMerciv is working on MapinHood, a navigational tool for mobile devices that allows a pedestrian to more effectively navigate city streets, aimed at offering assistance for the visually impaired or for people using wheelchairs. The MapinHood app intends to use the funding to pay for Azure machine learning licences to improve learning, storage and virtual machine capabilities along with other AI components needed in the future.

The app will use audio cues to warn users of obstacles on a path such as stairs, low hanging branches, street lamps, benches, water fountains and road signs that could otherwise cause trouble for disabled pedestrians. “We have built a fully-flexible, customized routing engine that only caters to pedestrians. The MapinHood app is essentially a crowd-sourced mobile mapping platform built for pedestrians by pedestrians,” said Arjun Mali, iMerciv Co-founder.