Scottish software provider Estendio is using Microsoft AI, machine learning and the Azure cloud to create an app that helps users with their public speaking, giving them prompts when necessary and integrating with PowerPoint. After a survey that found that 82% of students experience anxiety, panic or stress when presenting, the app aims to reduce this, as well as offering a range of dyslexia friendly features.
According to a Microsoft blogpost, Present Pal, which was created by a dyslexic student, guides users through their speech by using interactive flashcards, pop-ups and colour overlays on their device. By integrating with PowerPoint users are also able to access their notes and control their slides.
Microsoft has given Estendio free credits for its Azure cloud platform, as part of its AI for Accessibility programme. These will be used to develop the app, such as using speech application programming interfaces (APIs) to compare practice recordings with real-time speech, so that the program can recognise when a speaker is struggling to recall information. As a result, AI-powered audio prompts and visual pop-ups would help the presenter get back on track.
“Technology has such an important role to play in ensuring that people with disabilities are empowered to communicate effortlessly,” said Chris Hughes, founder and chief executive of Estendio. “The usage of AI/machine learning within Present Pal will allow us to really understand the needs and behaviour of presenters, providing the data to assist and enhance communication skills in the terrifying moments of presenting to your peers.”
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