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Lenovo, DeepBrain AI, Scott-Morgan Foundation unite to help people with disabilities communicate

Lenovo, DeepBrain AI, Scott-Morgan Foundation unite to help people with disabilities communicate

Lenovo, the Scott-Morgan Foundation and DeepBrain AI recently unveiled a unique AI avatar. The hyper-realistic embodiment functions as a communication tool for individuals battling degenerative diseases.

Erin Taylor, a 24-year-old diagnosed with ALS, a neurodegenerative disorder that often results in full-body paralysis, is at the center of this technological feat.

The Scott-Morgan Foundation invited Taylor to participate in a proof of concept for assistive communication.

Lenovo partnered with DeepBrain AI, a next-gen avatar creator, and a Lenovo AI Innovator, to utilize its generative AI technology. They captured a detailed full-body video of Taylor in California, which served as the foundational data for her new AI avatar. The avatar, showcased at CES 2024, has a 96% true-to-life accuracy, the company says.

As vice president and general manager of high-performance computing and AI at Lenovo, Scott Tease notes: “This is a fantastic example of the untapped potential of generative AI to empower individuals and build a more inclusive future, especially with such visionary collaborators.”

Lenovo says this initiative goes beyond creating an AI avatar. The company has developed a predictive AI tool to transform communication for people with advanced disabilities, enabling them to quickly convey urgent health information and personal needs.

In collaboration with the Scott-Morgan Foundation, Lenovo aims to integrate this AI into an inclusive communication platform, providing intuitive alternatives to traditional text input. The company notes that this effort is a significant advancement for individuals relying on assistive technologies.

Andrew Morgan, the Scott-Morgan Foundation’s chief executive officer, explains: “Our vision is built on a commitment to ensuring a universal right to thrive through technology.”

At CES, Erin’s avatar was brought to life on an external-facing monitor attached to a custom-made smart wheelchair. The setup also included Irisbond eye-gaze tracking hardware and a Lenovo Yoga laptop.

“Feeling so devastated and lost, we were grateful to the Scott-Morgan Foundation for inviting us to help build something new and shape the future,” shares Taylor.

Morgan believes this proof of concept will contribute to future innovations.

“Our foundation was built on the dream that technology, and AI especially, can break through severe disabilities and ensure a right to create, connect and live life joyfully,” Morgan adds. “We’re making that happen.”

The companies note that integrating AI technology with assistive communication aids ushers in a new era of autonomy for people with disabilities. This initiative is more than just a technological breakthrough—it’s a communication lifeline for those historically marginalized by conventional means of interaction.

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