Google has opened its first research and development center in the UK specifically for developing assistive technologies for people with disabilities. It is the company’s first website that focuses on global accessibility. In the UK, a Google app called Project Relate offers assistance to people whose medical conditions make it difficult to understand what they are saying. The application helps patients who have trouble communicating recognize speech patterns more easily. Real-time speech to text transcription, voice assistants, and synthesized vocal reproduction are the methods used to do this. For those with disabilities, Google’s technology “has the potential to be significant,” claims technology reporter Paul Carter.

It is the responsibility of several Google technical teams to look towards “supercharging” accessible technologies to increase their use. These teams have numerous research teams and are engaged in projects related to artificial intelligence. For instance, subtitling technology, which was initially created to help deaf or hard-of-hearing television viewers, has helped society as a whole and today benefits the vast majority of people. Rachael Bleakley, a deaf person, claims that using subtitles helped her overcome childhood challenges with lipreading. “Captions communicate not only what is being spoken but also any useful background noises which help amplify the plot, such as [dramatic music] for building tension, or a [loud explosion] off camera which helps explain why the main character looks a little alarmed,” she said.