Perkins, ACB, Benetech, Salesforce and more announce breakout sessions at Sight Tech Global

Sight Tech Global is little more than two weeks out, and today we published the detailed agenda for Dec. 2 & 3. The show runs from 8 a.m. to noonish Pacific standard time. If you have not already grabbed a free pass to the 100% virtual event, now is the time!

Sight Tech Global will present 35 speakers in 15 sessions focused on the cutting edge of AI-related technologies and accessibility, especially for the blind and visually impaired. A few of the remarkably accomplished speakers include OrCam founder Amnon Shashua, Seeing AI co-founder Saqib Shaikh, human rights lawyer Haben Girma, computer vision researcher Danna Gurari, Amazon L126 researcher Josh Miele and AI-expert and investor Kai-Fu Lee.

The agenda also includes ten breakouts that run in parallel to the main stage sessions. These 30-minute segments are produced by partners who are excited about the strong profile of Sight Tech Global’s 1200+ registered attendees to date. The list of breakouts is below.

As ever, we are grateful to the excellent sponsors of Sight Tech Global, including Waymo, Salesforce, Mojo Vision, Ford, Vispero, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Wells Fargo, Comcast, accessiBe, Eyedaptic, APH, HumanWare, Verizon Media, Verizon 5G and TechCrunch. Sponsorships benefit the non-profit Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which has been serving the Silicon Valley are for 75 years.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Please have a look at complete agenda. Here are the breakout sessions so far!

Perkins Access: Users aren’t an add-on: building the user perspective into the design process

Comcast and Perkins Access (the digital accessibility consulting division of Perkins School for the Blind) will share insights for creating accessible experiences, with an emphasis on building the user perspective into the design process. This ensures that all teams understand the specific challenges, and unique needs, of blind and visually impaired users. Panelists include the authors of Perkins Access’ Inclusive Design Guide, which will be released at Sight Tech and available for download.

  • Gary Aussant, Director of Consulting, Perkins Access
  • Geoff Freed, Director of Consulting, Perkins Access
  • Jerry Berrier, Director of Education Technology, Perkins School for the Blind
  • Karyn Georgilis, MBA candidate, Harvard Business School
  • Tom Wlodkowski, Vice president Accessibility and Multicultural, Technology and Product, Comcast

American Council of the Blind: Get Up & get moving – A call for leveraging technology to improve health and wellness

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the global challenges that technology can experience when pushed to the limits. This realty check has not only been disproportionately burdensome for individuals who are blind and visually impaired, but it has also exposed the pre-existing barriers that have harmed the physical, social, and psychological well-being within this community over the years. Join the American Council of the Blind for an empowering panel on how technology can break down barriers to a full and enriched life, and how we can all get up and get moving toward full equality in the health and wellness arena.

  • Clark Rachfal, Director of Advocacy, American Council of the Blind
  • Eric Bridges, Executive Director, American Council of the Blind
  • Brian Charlson, member, American Council of the Blind

Benetech: Using artificial intelligence to unlock STE(A)M education

Artificial Intelligence is a term that has been around for decades and AI applications and techniques are already being used in everything from HR and healthcare to e-commerce. But what is the future of AI in supporting accessibility and inclusive education? This session will provide a basic understanding of various AI techniques, including Machine Learning and Computer Vision, and how Benetech is applying these techniques to transform complex books. For accessible formats, text is easy but equations, images and other non-text content is not straightforward. Join us to hear more about the future of Assistive Technology and how it is opening new worlds for the blind and visually impaired.

  • Brad Turner, VP and GM, Global Education and Literacy, Benetech

Salesforce: The new Office of Accessibility – Explained.

It’s been a year since Salesforce announced the launch of their Office of Accessibility, a new corporate team that partners with internal stakeholders to highlight accessibility needs and develop improvement plans, build workforce development programs, and evangelize Salesforce and their employees, customers, and other important work across the industry, all under one roof.

In this breakout session, Kristian Burch, Senior Manager of Global Accessibility Compliance, and Richard Boardman, Senior Director of UX Engineering, Accessibilitywill discuss what led to this groundbreaking move, how the Office interacts with other teams and more specifically Product Accessibility, what’s worked, and what they would change looking back.

  • Kristian Burch, Senior Manager of Global Accessibility Compliance
  • Richard Boardman, Senior Director of UX Engineering, Accessibility

Fable: The barriers to Utopia: Why feedback comes first.

A lot of conversations these days are about the latest technology, and how it promises to solve all of our problems. But what about people? Join the CEO and the Community Lead of Fable, Alwar Pillai and Samuel Proulx, as they discuss how to collect authentic feedback from people living with disabilities.

  • Alwar Pillai, CEO, Fable
  • Samuel Proulx, Community lead

Eyedaptic: Simulated natural vision technology & one user’s low vision journey

Eyedaptic is an AR (Augmented Reality) visual aid company, which helps those with retina-related vision loss, such as AMD, simulate natural vision. Eyedaptic’s novel software adapts to the user’s vision, as well as their environment and habits, and optimizes the user’s remaining vision. Samuel Newman will discuss his own low vision challenges that he has overcome and the low vision technologies he has tried.

  • Jay Cormier, Founder and CEO, Eyedaptic
  • Samuel Newman, Clinical specialist & Low vision Technology User

Vispero: The engineering experience of adding a voice assistant to ZoomText and JAWS

Roxana and Sriram talk about their experiences in adding Voice Assistant to a mainstream Windows screen reader and magnifier. They explore the new input mechanic’s benefits and limitations and the guideposts they used to create the initial command set. They also talk about the Voice assistant’s data and conversational privacy aspects and how Vispero is approaching them.

  • Sriram Ramanathan, Senior Software Engineer, Vispero
  • Roxana Fischer, Software Developer, Vispero

Humanware: Plotting the course – delving into the past, present, and future of assistive technology for the visually impaired community through the lens of artificial intelligence

This session will spotlight the trajectory of HumanWare and how current technological trends impact the future of product development. Join Eric Beauchamp, Francois Boutrouille and Peter Tucic for a discussion of how the previous 32 years of HumanWare’s development of blindness and low vision technology has evolved and will continue to do so with the advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Participants will develop a better understanding of how the challenge of providing products that solved singular tasks has now shifted to integrate the complexities of deep learning technology to interact with dynamic objectives in real-time.

  • Peter Tucic, Brand Ambassador of Blindness Products, HumanWare
  • Eric Beauchamp, Director of Product Management, HumanWare
  • François Boutrouille, Emerging Technologies Leader, HumanWare

Teach Access: Teaching accessibility to tomorrow’s builders

Teach Access, a national coalition of institutions of higher ed, corporations (mostly tech-centered) and advocates with disabilities, will be conducting a roundtable with recent college students to discuss how the teaching of accessible design and development at the university level can help close the accessibility skills gap for the emerging generation of participants in the new digital economy.

  • Kate Sonka, Executive Director, Teach Access; Assistant Director of Academic Technology, Michigan State University
  • Larry Goldberg, Co-founder, Teach Access; Head of Accessibility, Verizon Media
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