Stories of inclusion: Celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities across Asia Pacific

A visually im[paired women listens to a smartphone app.

At Microsoft, we are dedicated to creating products and services with technologies that empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.  With more than 1 billion people with disabilities around the world – including an estimated 650 million in Asia Pacific – this aim has never been more important. To mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities, here are six inspiring stories of courage, tenacity, dedication, and achievement from across our region. Above photo: A visually impaired woman in China listens to a smartphone app that has an audio function that lists local bus timetable information.

Smart Soundscape app rings all the right bells for blind or low vision users

As someone who has lived with blindness his entire life, David Woodbridge has managed to navigate his way around on public transport over the years through trial and error. He knows that when the bus gets to a certain cross street it’s time for him to press the button, so the bus driver will pull over at his stop. But he can’t see, so he can’t see the cross street, and nor can his dog guide, Louisa…Read more »



Shin’s story: Using technology to break down the barriers of disability in Japan

Yunik Shin was born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), requiring assistance for his daily life. Hoping he’d be able to learn as much as possible on his own, his parents gave him a personal computer when he was just three years old. Shin, now 21, studies Western Philosophy at Tokyo University, one of Japan’s best universities, and lives on his own in an apartment near the campus…Read more »



‘AI for Good’: Empowering China’s nonprofits with world-leading technologies

“In front of you is Barack Obama, looking straight towards you.” At the prompt, the volunteer takes off the Seeing AI glasses she was trying on. In front of her was simply a large photograph of Barack Obama that the glasses had decoded with facial recognition. The Chinese version of Seeing AI was one of the solutions presented at the “Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Good” event held at Microsoft offices in Beijing to empower nonprofit organizations with technology…Read more »



How a Taipei school for the visually impaired is helping make Microsoft Windows even more accessible

Shen Yan-lin can mix music by computer. His fingers whip across the panel of a smartphone from app to app, changing settings at the same high speed. The faithful Windows user who studied PCs mostly by himself just wants more precision when using Narrator, a built-in Microsoft tool that literally reads things aloud, voicing text and describing notifications or calendar appointments…Read more »



Microsoft and Grab volunteers at the Enabling VillageMapping inclusivity in Singapore and beyond

Ever wondered how online maps can be made more inclusive, for persons with disabilities? Well, on 15 March 2018, Microsoft and Grab joined forces to do exactly that. Teams of 70 volunteers from both organisations embarked on a mapathon to “unlock” Redhill – one of Singapore’s oldest neighborhoods – for people with special needs. Volunteers mapped close to 700 ‘objects’ with accessibility tags around the Enabling Village…Read more »



Hour of Code: Giving voice to children with autism

Digital transformation is changing our world fast. And, while it is creating amazing opportunities and innovative solutions, it also runs the risk of deepening the digital divide – not just among countries and economies, but also individuals. Everyone in society needs to have the access and skills to use technology to succeed in the digital world. In other words, if the 4th industrial revolution is to achieve good in our future, it must be “fair” and “inclusive”, particularly for the one in seven of us who live with a disability….Read more »

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