We live in a great age and I am grateful for bright motivated people who are using their talents to help those with communication challenges. I recently came across some information regarding a terrific use of artificial intelligence to help our community.

 Technology is wonderful and has potential to help so many people. For example, I read about new projects Google has been working on. These projects were announced at Google’s annual developer conference at the beginning of May. Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, expressed how the company’s “mission to make information universally accessible and useful,” was never-changing, “but [their] approach has evolved.” Google wants to be helpful “for everyone, no matter who you are, where you live, or what you’re hoping to accomplish” says Pichai. This is a great mission, and a couple of their projects caught my attention; Project Euphonia and Project DIVA.

Julie Cattiau, is a project manager at Google for Project Euphonia. Google understands that communication is an important part of life. They also understand how frustrating it can be to try and communicate for those who have a speech impairment. With Project Euphonia, Google is using artificial intelligence. Cattiau explains how Google partnered with non-profit organizations to use artificial intelligence “to improve computers’ abilities to understand diverse speech patterns.”

Lorenzo Caggioni is Project DIVA’s developer. Caggioni, has a brother with multiple diagnoses and is also non-verbal. Caggioni’s personal experience gave Lorenzo the idea for Project DIVA, which he says stands for “DIVersely Assisted.” This project will help people who are non-verbal use Google Assistant without having to use their voice.

Both of these projects are way cool. I know many parents with children with communication challenges, my own included, who will be following these projects’ development and release. Communication can be so important to achieving full accessibility and inclusion. While all of us are champions for our children, few of us have the ability to develop software applications. Thank heavens for companies and individuals who are using their abilities to help. Orange Socks applauds Google who sees the need and is doing something about it.

Gerald Nebeker, Ph.D. Orange Socks President

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