Electrical Engineering Seminars

Innovations in Accessibility: A Perspective from Microsoft Research

Henrique (Rico) Malvar, Distinguished Engineer, Microsoft Research.

Nov 12, 2021
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 Innovations in information technology are key to improving our quality of life. Examples include the Internet, digital media, social networks, the cloud, and others. And the future will bring self-driving cars, robotic assistants, and other innovations we cannot even imagine. Unfortunately, for people with disabilities, such technological advances may rely on more sophisticated user interfaces that may not be accessible to those users. We want to improve the lives of every person, and over 10% of the population has some form of disability. In this talk we will discuss some design principles for developing accessible interfaces, and new ways in which signal processing and artificial intelligence can help develop new information sensing and presentation capabilities. We will present examples of how we leveraged those to develop new devices and applications for people with disabilities at Microsoft, including the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Eye Control in Windows, and others. WE will also touch on how we see the future of new user interfaces and experiences for people with disabilities.


Speaker Bio

 Henrique (Rico) Malvar is a Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft Research. He joined Microsoft Research in 1997, founding the signal processing group, which developed new technologies such as new media compression formats used in Windows, Xbox, and Office, and audio technologies used in Windows, Xbox, Kinect, and HoloLens. Currently he heads a set of groups that develops new human-computer interfacing technologies, many with the goal of improving the experiences for people with disabilities. Rico was a key architect for the WMA and JPEG XR media formats and made key contributions to the H.264 video format, used by most Web video services. Prior to Microsoft, Rico was Vice President for Research at PictureTel Corp. He has over 120 issued US patents and over 170 publications. He is an IEEE Fellow and has received many awards, including the Amar G. Bose Industrial Leader Award and a Technical Achievement Award, both from the IEEE Signal Processing Society and the 20th Century Landmark Award from the IEEE Seattle Section in 2014. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and of the Washington State Academy of Sciences. See also




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