Accenture Uses AI To Bring Drishti To Visually Impaired

Drishti means vision is Sanskrit. And that is what Drishti, the AI-based solution that Accenture has developed, aims to bring to the visually impaired to improve their day-to-day activities. The solution, tested and developed with 10 blind professionals, and in collaboration with National Association for the Blind in India, uses technologies like image recognition and natural language processing and natural language generation to provide support.

This AI-based vision support is provided via a smartphone. Talking about how technology can be used to improve the quality of life for the socially challenged, Pallavi Kadam, executive director, National Association for the Blind in India, said, “This project makes us excited for a not-too-distant future where the widespread use of technologies such as this will have a significant and positive impact on the blind community. Through the innovative use of technology, we’ve seen first-hand how the Drishti solution Accenture developed can enable visually impaired individuals to lead more inclusive and productive lives. Accenture shares our mission to empower the visually challenged in the workplace.” The solution termed Drishti, is meant to help the visually impaired to improve their daily life experiences and enhance their productivity in their workplace.

Using AI-based technologies, the solution provides narration to the user on the number of people in a room, their ages, genders and even emotions based on facial expressions. It can also be used to identify and narrate text from books and documents, including currency notes, and identify obstructions like glass doors to improve the safety of the user. “Drishti is a powerful example of how advanced and emerging technologies can be used for good to address complex human challenges. This project resulted from an opportunity we saw to build a more inclusive workplace for our visually impaired colleagues,” said Sanjay Podder, managing director of Accenture Labs, lead at Accenture Tech4Good, and Eisenhower Fellow, explaining the vision behind Drishti.

In fact, Drishti is part Accenture’s Tech4Good initiative, which applies technology to improve the way of life for those socially challenged and works to solving complex social issues. Talking about this solution, Paul Daugherty, chief technology & innovation officer, Accenture said, “Accenture believes diversity is a source of innovation, creativity and competitive advantage. This Tech4Good solution is a great illustration of how AI technology can empower humans by augmenting their capabilities so they can achieve more for themselves and the world around them.”

Moreover, the company is now planning to introduce Drishti to more than 100 visually impaired employees in India. “This work reflects our longstanding commitment to inclusion and diversity, and our effort to create a ‘truly human’ environment where people can be who they are, and be their best, both professionally and personally,” Daugherty added. The solution is currently being piloted at Accenture in South Africa, and a Spanish language version is being tested with Accenture employees in Argentina. “By harnessing the rapid advancements in AI technology, we’ve demonstrated – through the pilot with the National Association for the Blind in India, as well as with Accenture’s own employees – the impact innovative solutions such as this can have on improving the way people live and work,” Podder further explained.

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