The third annual Sight Tech Global conference, a virtual, free and very affordable the event on December 7 and 8 brings together some of the world’s best experts working on assistive technologies, especially AI, for people who are visually impaired or blind. If you’re not following this thread, perhaps you should, because many cutting-edge technologies over the years—think OCR and NLP—were originally developed with blind people in mind and moved on from there to more mainstream uses. Register today!
At this year’s event, we have sessions with the creators of several new vision assist devices and we’ll talk about the technology architecture decisions that went into balancing capabilities with cost and leveraging existing platforms.
We’ll also be looking at accessibility in VR for the first time, which is an area of great concern because if/when VR enters the entertainment and business worlds, it’s vital that visually impaired people have access as they do today on smart phones and computers thanks to of screen readers such as JAWS, VoiceOver, and NVDA.
Our third major piece of programming is for the AI itself. There’s no shortage of hype about AI’s capabilities, and it’s important to push back against that by discussing some serious limitations and deficits in how today’s AI works for people with disabilities, not to mention humanity as a whole. At the same time, AI is perhaps the best mainstream technology for the visually impaired. Understanding AI is vital to the future of everyone with disabilities for all of these reasons. Don’t forget to register today!
And before you check out this awesome agenda: For technologists, designers, and product people working on disruptive assistive technology, we’re hosting a small, in-person event on December 9 featuring assistive technology workshops, many led by the same living room luminaries row. Are you interested? Contact us.
Here is the agenda. To view hours and more, go to Sight Tech Global agenda page.
The Dynamic Tactile Device: This “Holy Braille” for education is at hand
Tracking of last year’s discussion of the collaboration between APH and Humanware to create an education-focused tactile display (see next session), Greg Stilson updated Sight Tech Global on project progress and APH’s work toward a developer SDK to build on the tactile display. Greg Stilson will also lead a session for attendees who want to delve deeper into the Dynamic Tactile Device.
Greg StillsonHead of Global Innovation, APH
Moderator: Devin Coldwaywriter and photographer, TechCrunch
DOT Pad: How the Bible and smartphone speaker technology inspired a breakthrough
For decades, engineers have been working on a braille display that can display tactile images and multi-line braille. DOT Pad It may be necessary cracked the code with an innovative approach to generating dynamic fields from braille pins, triggered by smart integrations combined with existing technologies such as Apple’s VoiceOver. Eric Kim and Ki Sung will also lead a session for participants who want to learn more.
Eric Joo Yoon Kim Co-Founder/CEO DOT
Ki Kwang Sung Co-Founder/CEO DOT
Moderator: Devin Coldway TechCrunch writer and photographer
Virtual Reality and Inclusion: What Does Non-Visual Access to the Metaverse Mean?
People with disabilities and accessibility advocates are working to ensure that the metaverse is accessible to all. This panel will delve into exploring the challenges that current virtual and augmented reality tools create for people who are blind or have low vision. Panelists will share their experiences using compelling technologies and explore how these tools can be used to improve work opportunities in hybrid and remote workplaces—but only if they’re built with inclusion in mind.
Moderator Bill Curtis Davidson Co-Director, Partnership for Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT)
Alexa HuttDirector of Strategic Communications, PEAT
Brandon Keith Biggssoftware engineer, Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute and CEO of XR Navigation
Aaron GluckPhD candidate in human-centered computing, Clemson University
Inventing the ‘screen reader’ for VR: Owlchemy Lab’s Cosmonious High
There is every reason for VR game developers to experiment with accessibility from the ground up, which the team at Owlchemy Labs did with Cosmonious Highthe 2022 release of a fun first-person game set in an intergalactic high school that said one reviewer “has all the charm and cheek of a good Nickelodeon kids show.” And reveals some of the earliest approaches to accessibility in VR.
Peter GalbraithAccessibility Engineer II, Owlchemy Labs
Jazmine CanoAccessibility Product Manager II, Owlchemy Labs
Moderator James Rathfilmmaker, accessibility advocate and gamer
Audio description the Pixar way
AI-driven, synthetic audio description may have a place in some forms of accessible video content, but the artistry of the fully human-produced audio descriptions that Pixar produces for its productions sets a creative standard that no AI will ever achieve, and that’s all to the good. Meet members of the Pixar team behind audio description excellence.
Eric PearsonHead of Home Entertainment, Pixar
Anna CapeceraDirector, Operations with audio description, Deluxe
Laura PostActress with a voice
Christina StevensWriting Manager, Deluxe
Moderator Tom WlodkowskiVice President, Accessibility, Comcast
Seeing AI and the new AI
Microsoft’s wildly popular Seeing AI is one of those apps that seems to do everything from reading documents to recognizing people and things. These services are enabled by Microsoft’s rapidly evolving cloud-based AI systems. How is Seeing AI progressing with these capabilities and what is the future of Seeing AI?
Saqib Sheikhco-founder of Seeing AI, Microsoft
Moderator Larry GoldbergAccessibility Sensei and Technology Consultant
Accessibility is AI’s biggest challenge: How Alexa aims to make it fairer for everyone
Smart home technology like Alexa has been one of the biggest boons in recent years for people who are blind and people with disabilities in general. Voice technology and artificial intelligence are helping to empower people in many ways, but one obstacle stands in their way: making them fair. In this session, learn from Amazon how they are approaching the challenge ahead.
Peter KornDirector of Accessibility, Devices and Services, Amazon
Josh MielePrincipal Accessibility Researcher, Amazon
Carolyn DesrosiersFounder and CEO, Scribely
Pick up Celeste
Rapid advances in phones, data networks, and hardware miniaturization seem to always be converging on the concept of this super useful, affordable, unobtrusive assistive device. Celeste plans to release a pair of tech-enabled glasses later this year that mark a milestone in that journey.
Shub Mittalfounder, Celeste
Smith Patelco-founder, Celeste
moderator, Jenison AsuncionHead of Accessibility Evangelism, LinkedIn
Continue with ARx
Like the Celeste, the ARx is a recently launched device designed to take advantage of the technology platforms that surround everyday life with a personal, minimally visible head-mounted device. Both Celeste and ARx leaders will discuss what they have learned in the course of developing and testing their devices.
Charles LeclercCEO, ARx Vision
moderator, Lucy Grecoe-accessibility expert and consultant
What’s next with StellarTrek
While Seleste and ARx are newcomers to assistive devices, Humanware is a highly respected, established player whose new StellarTrek it also benefits powerfully from the advancement of technology, but also separates itself from the newcomers when it comes to technological architecture and form factors.
Louis-Philippe MassetVP Product Innovation and Technology, Humanware
Petar Tucicdirector of strategic partnerships, Humanware
moderator, Sam Pruks, Accessibility Evangelist, Fable
The problems with AI
Despite the stunning advances in AI over the past decade, the so-called “deep learning” AI technology prevalent today has underappreciated limitations and even poses dangers to society. Our speakers are world-renowned AI experts and AI “dissenters” who believe we need AI that is both more responsible and more capable of producing results with common sense.
David FerrucciFounder and CEO, Elemental Cognition
Gary MarcusFounder and Executive Chairman, Robust AI
moderator, Ned Desmond, Founder and Executive Producer, Sight Tech Global
Has computer vision gotten worse or better?
The ability of assistive technology devices to recognize objects, faces and scenes is a type of artificial intelligence called Computer Vision, which requires building huge databases of human-labeled images to train AI algorithms. A new technique called “one-time training” learns dramatically faster because the AI is trained on images on the internet. No human supervision is required. Is this a good idea?
Dana GurariAssistant Professor, Founding Director, Imaging and Video Group, University of Colorado Boulder
moderator, Cecily MorrisonPrincipal Investigator, Microsoft Research Cambridge
What Waymo learned at the DOT Inclusive Design Challenge
Waymo is involved with the US Department of Transportation Inclusive design challengeand appeared with multitudes tutorials and accessibility features which will help Waymo’s autonomous rides offer people with disabilities better service. The Waymo team is still processing everything it learned.
Lauren SchwendimanHead and Manager of UX Design, Waymo
Jeffrey ColonDirector of Access Technology, Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired
moderator, Mike MayChief Evangelist, Goodmaps
do not forget to register for this free virtual event.
We are grateful to current sponsors iSenpai, Google, Amazon, LinkedIn, Humanware, Microsoft, Ford, Fable, APH and Waymo. If you would like to sponsor the event, Please contact us. All sponsorship proceeds go to the non-profit organization Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impairedwhich has been serving the Silicon Valley community for 75 years.