Microsoft partners with Team Gleason to build a computer vision dataset for ALS

Microsoft and Team Gleason, the nonprofit organization founded by NFL player Steve Gleason, today launched Project Insight to create an open dataset of facial imagery of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The organizations hope to foster innovation in computer vision and broaden the potential for connectivity and communication for people with accessibility challenges.

Microsoft and Team Gleason assert that existing machine learning datasets don’t represent the diversity of people with ALS, a condition that affects as many as 30,000 people in the U.S. This results in issues accurately identifying people, due to breathing masks, droopy eyelids, watery eyes, and dry eyes from medications that control excessive saliva.

Project Insight will investigate how to use data and AI with the front-facing camera already present in many assistive devices to predict where a person is looking on a screen. Team Gleason will work with Microsoft’s Health Next Enable team to gather images of people with ALS looking at their computer so it can train AI models more inclusively. (Microsoft’s Health Next team, which is within its Health AI division, focuses on AI and cloud-based services to improve health outcomes.)  Participants will be given a brief medical history questionnaire and be prompted through an app to submit images of themselves using their computer.

“ALS progression can be as diverse as the individuals themselves,” Team Gleason chief impact officer Blair Casey said. “So accessing computers and communication devices should not be a one-size-fits-all. We will capture as much information as possible from 100 people living with ALS so we can develop tools for all to effectively use.”

Microsoft and Team Gleason estimate that the project will collect and share 5TB of anonymized data with researchers on data science platforms like Kaggle and GitHub.

“There is a significant lack of disability-specific data that is

Spark and NNNCo team up to create a roaming trans-Tasman LoRaWAN network

New Zealand telco Spark and Australian IoT network builder National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo) announced an agreement on Monday that will allow LoRaWAN users to deploy on either side of the Tasman and roam on the other side of the ditch.

In order to implement the roaming arrangement, NNNCo’s enterprise platform, N2N-DL, has been integrated into Spark’s network core.

“Data from devices on the Spark NZ network will feed into N2N-DL giving customers access to data on a single platform from devices enrolled in either country,” the pair said.

“Spark can also do the same for customers with devices enrolled on the NNNCo network in Australia.”

One of the first customers of the network will be Parkable, a New Zealand parking app that is looking to expand in Australia.

“As the economy continues to be shaped by COVID-19, we could expect to see more partnerships like this; where carriers and partners work together to enable the deployment and scaling of IoT solutions across markets,” Spark IoT lead Tony Agar said.

Elsewhere on Monday morning, Australian telco Optus announced it was opening up its 5G network for its wholesale customers.

The telco said it has 900 5G sites across the country, but has yet to deploy any cells in Tasmania or Northern Territory.

Spintel is the first mobile virtual network operator to jump onboard.

Not to be left out, Australian incumbent telco Telstra said on Monday its network has hit 41% population coverage.

“Our 5G now covers an area that more than twelve million Australians live, work or pass through on a daily basis, giving them access to a superfast network at a time when connectivity’s never been more important and when there’ll be more 5G devices to choose from than ever,” Telstra group executive for networks & IT Nikos Katinakis

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Instagram & Plan International Team Up With Girl Activists To Address Online Harassment

Instagram & Plan International Team Up With Girl Activists To Address Online Harassment

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Oct. 11, 2020

After landmark survey by Plan International points to unchecked online harassment, social media platform will work with girls’ rights organization to kick off a series of listening sessions with girl activists around the world, which will inform work across Facebook properties.

NEW YORK, Oct. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Instagram will hear from a global panel of girl activists on how the platform can address online harassment, in collaboration with Plan International.

(PRNewsfoto/Plan International USA)
(PRNewsfoto/Plan International USA)

Insights will also be shared with Facebook and WhatsApp as part of this initiative.

Plan’s Listening Sessions, which are being announced on International Day of the Girl [October 11, 2020], will feature a diverse group of 15 youth activists.

The Listening Sessions will give policy and product teams from Instagram — as well as other Facebook platforms — an opportunity to hear directly from girls about their lived experiences on social media, creating a dialogue about more ways the companies can continue to invest in protecting girls from bullying and harassment.

The panelists will consult a broad network of girls and civil society organizations to offer insights from thousands of girls and young women worldwide.

This partnership comes after Plan International’s new report shines a light on the harassment and abuse of girls and young women on social media. Plan surveyed 14,000 girls in 22 countries, including the U.S., Brazil, Benin and India, revealing more than half (58%) have been harassed or abused on social media. The organization spoke to 1,165 girls and young women between the age of 15 and 24 in the U.S. and found 43% reported that they have experienced some form of online harassment on social media

NBC Olympics And Twitter Team Up For Bigger Audiences, More Diverse Content In Expanded Partnership

In 2019, NBC Olympics and Twitter
TWTR
announced a partnership ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that would see the former produce a 20-minute daily studio show live from Tokyo, among other, more bite-sized content, to stream exclusively on the social media platform.

Now, the two media companies have announced an expanded content partnership that will include not only the postponed Tokyo Olympics in 2021 but the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.

In addition to the daily studio show, NBC Olympics and Twitter will work together on content such as a daily Twitter poll in which fans decide which athlete, sport or moment they’d like to see in a live look-in to NBC’s Primetime or Primetime Plus broadcasts each night and real-time video highlights throughout each competition day.

NBC Olympics worked closely with Twitter in past Games, streaming behind-the-scenes photos and interviews with athletes during the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. But this partnership would see both the scope and the amount of content expand.

A heavy emphasis will be placed on the athletes and the goings-on in the host city of Tokyo in the daily live studio show. Many of the most memorable and engaging moments of each day of competition will be published on Twitter as they happen, including some Spanish-language clips. Highlights will include medal-winning performances and podium ceremonies, as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

The agreement also includes pregame content. Starting in June 2021, NBC Olympics will