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5 assistive tech platforms to propel the future of work for people with disabilities

From generative AI giants to new offerings tackling problems related to specific conditions, these products might help level the playing field.

Read AI can help organize notes more efficiently (Danya Henninger/Technical.ly)
This is a guest post by Diego Mariscal, the founder and CEO of 2Gether-International. The DC-based organization runs several programs, including an accelerator, to support founders with disabilities. This piece references some of the organization’s affiliates and beneficiaries.

The future of work for people with disabilities — historically the most overlooked and underemployed segment of the population — is more promising than ever before.

This horizon brims with possibilities for not only increased inclusion but also leadership and advanced ingenuity. The catalyst is the suite of innovative, accessible, universally designed and assistive digital platforms that can both level playing fields and empower people with disabilities to be leaders in their respective industries.

Additionally, many of these transformative technologies have been designed by none other than people with disabilities, who took matters into their own hands to improve life experiences and eliminate barriers. The community has a long history of trailblazing in this space, from text messaging being invented by deaf inventor James Marsters to the American Federation for the Blind pioneering the development of audiobooks.

As a disabled founder with cerebral palsy, I have found assistive technology to be a critical component for pursuing and achieving my entrepreneurial goals. Here are five game-changing tech platforms, including those from startups created by people with disabilities, that are driving the future of work:

Read AI

Read AI takes notes during a meeting and provides AI-generated summaries of what was discussed, including key action items and post-meeting next steps. Given my cerebral palsy and difficulty taking notes during meetings, Read AI has allowed me to organize all my notes more efficiently.

The platform can have an even broader impact beyond serving those with disabilities who struggle with maintaining meeting notes. Anyone who uses this technology can be more present and listen more actively in meetings, rather than worrying about jotting down their own notes.

Speechify

This text-to-audio app reads words on screen aloud. Having cerebral palsy can make reading more challenging, but with this assistive technology, I can review and absorb materials at double the speed. It’s a very straightforward app and I encourage anyone who has trouble processing written information to give it a try.


ChatGPT

It seems as if everyone has heard of this one, but the hype around ChatGPT doesn’t make it any less groundbreaking. It’s a great way to brainstorm and get started with writing emails, proposals and fleshing out ideas. Still, people must do their own research and add their own perspective to the Chat GPT-generated content to make it work as well as possible.

Educational Vision Technologies (EVT.ai)

This B2B SaaS company uses AI to automate video editing and knowledge curation. It can take long recordings and transform them into brief, easy-to-digest chapters organized by topic. Overall, it enables more accessible, engaging and efficient online learning.

EVT.ai’s founder Monal Parmar was named the winner of 2Gether-International’s spring 2023 pitch competition for disabled tech founders, and I’m proud to share that his digital platform is still making waves.

CBoard

The winner of 2Gether-International’s spring 2024 pitch competition helps people with speech and language impairments communicate with symbols and text-to-speech functions.

Founder Martin Bedouret was inspired to develop this augmentative and alternative communication web app in 2017 after an ALS diagnosis. He wanted to make a new tool to assist with speech issues that was more affordable than others on the market and available in more languages. It’s a great addition to a text-to-audio landscape along with the aforementioned Speechify.

A screenshot of a Zoom call, where someone is presenting their pictogram software.

Martin Bedouret presents his software company, Cboard, at a pitch competition hosted by 2Gether-International (2GI). (Screenshot/2GI)

The last decade saw undeniable strides in adaptive and assistive technology. With even more emerging technologies becoming available, we are moving further toward improving the future of work for people with disabilities — including those with entrepreneurial aspirations.

Companies: 2Gether-International
Series: Future of Work Month

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