Software company wins $1m funding for accessibility tech

Wednesday, 24 February, 2021

Software company wins $1m funding for accessibility tech

Melbourne-based technology developer RealThing Ai has received $1 million in funding from the Australian Government, to accelerate its development of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for blind and partially sighted people worldwide.

RealThing Ai has developed a human dialogue and intelligent reasoning product, called RealSAM, for people living with low vision and blindness. The product is delivered through voice activation, and used to control everyday technology such as mobile phones and smart speakers.

RealThing has partnered with a range of sight loss organisations, including Vision Australia, the US Library of Congress National Library Service and the UK’s Royal National Institute for Blind People. RealThing’s RealSAM platform and voice interface has the potential to change the lives of vision-impaired users around the world.

The funding will be used to further the company’s solution and install the AI onto a mobile phone, so it can operate untethered to the internet. This will overcome the shortcomings of other assistants such as Apple’s Siri, which can only operate when connected to the cloud.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the government was pleased to help scale up the ideas of Australian businesses, as the Accelerating Commercialisation grants are all about investing in the growth of Australian business ideas that ultimately change lives for the better.

“Not only do these business ideas strengthen our economy, they are examples of Australian ingenuity helping make the world a better place,” said Minister Andrews.

RealThing Ai CEO Nick Howden said the company was thrilled to be recognised by the Australian Government as a recipient of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme.

“This funding will lead to significant Australian revenues and the creation of jobs in the high-value areas of artificial intelligence and medtech, while, most importantly, improving the quality of life of people living with sight loss,” said Howden.

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