Through a new artificial intelligence (AI) accelerator programme, Microsoft is helping 11 companies improve the world. The programme, in collaboration with Social Tech Trust – an investor in socially-motivated technology, will support businesses who help people with specific needs or who work to benefit the environment.
The four-month accelerator programme will provide the selected companies with a curriculum designed by teams from Scale Up, Social Tech Trust and Microsoft UK. The firms can join workshops to help develop their products and bring them to the market.
“This cohort has been selected on the basis that these companies are using innovative technologies to solve complex challenges that affect society at large,” said Eve Joseph, manager of Responsibility at Microsoft UK. “From boosting crop yields, to improving the lives of those living with accessibility needs, I’m thrilled that we have been able to create this programme and these 11 inspiring organisations are at the heart of it. I’m really excited to see what they can achieve.”
WeWalk is part of the accelerator and creates smart canes that detect obstacles above chest level and can warn the user through vibrations. It can also be paired with a map app to guide the user without needing to carry their device and is voice-controlled.
The other participants are:
Access Earth: a free platform for users to find and rate places based on their accessibility needs
Agricompas: a company specialising in agricultural data analytics to help improve crop chains
Agrimetrics: analyses data to deliver food sustainably
BetterSpace: An A-Z of things to improve people’s mental health
City MAAS: reduces congestion and emissions in smart cities using blockchain and AI
ev.energy: helps electric vehicle owners save on the cost of charging
iDyslexic: a social app for those living and working with dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Immersive Rehab: provides interactive physiotherapy programmes in virtual reality
Shock Innovations: making it easier to compare and interpret thermal images
Upstream Health: supports medical professionals to proactively monitor patients
“If we’re merely passive consumers of technology, we’ll have no control over its direction and little influence on its impact on our lives,” said Ed Evans, chief executive of Social Tech Trust. “By collaborating with Microsoft on the AI for Good Social Business Programme, we have the opportunity to shape AI to increase accessibility and benefit environmental sustainability. This means we’ll have a better chance of achieving the future that we want to see.”