Highlights from the San Francisco Tech Summit

Ever get the sense you’re on the verge of something truly incredible? I had a palpable sense of this last week when I arrived in San Francisco for the Summit on Advancing Innovation in Assistive Technology.  I was there as part of the team from Cerebral Palsy Alliance who hosted a Summit on Advancing Innovation in Assistive Technology in San Francisco.

Roadmap planning for communication stream

It was a gathering of some of the world’s top scientists, technologists and engineers from universities like Harvard, Cornell, and Brown, as well as corporate representatives from Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and Apple, as well as other technologists from across the globe (Israel, Europe, Japan, Canada, etc).

Over the two and a half days, presenters shared 15min lightning talks on their technology and on the final day, we worked out a road map for future collaboration and action. I also had the opportunity to chair a session of industry leaders including experts from Facebook and Microsoft speaking about their push for technology that is inclusive of people with disability.

Some of the most impressive businesses I met were:

Dr Walid Soussou from Wearable Sensing with Pete Horsley
Dr Walid Soussou from Wearable Sensing with Pete Horsley

Voiceitt – the world’s first speech recognition technology designed to understand non-standard speech.

Seismic – a new integration of apparel and robotics called Powered Clothing – think exoskeleton that goes under your clothes.

Embodied Labs – creates embodied, virtual reality patient experience labs for healthcare trainees and professionals.

Facebook’s Silent Interfacenon-implanted devices that allow you to type directly from your brain without using a keyboard at 5 times the speed of what we type into our smart phones.

Dr Leigh Hochberg from Harvard explaining BrainGate
Dr Leigh Hochberg from Harvard explaining BrainGate

HAL – (or Hybrid Assistive Limb) this exoskeleton assists those with physically disabilities to move enhancing the users own thoughts.

Microsoft – developed standardised protocol for eye tracking devices and have developed a wheelchair controller that utilises eye-tracking.

Over the coming months the plan is to develop out a road map and build a global strategy around disability technology.