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Sri Lanka’s tech firm gets Microsoft’s AI grant for healthcare app

ECONOYNEXT – Microsoft said it will give a grant to Sri Lanka based Fortude, a technology firm for developing an application dealing with swallowing disability in youth and children.

The grant is part of Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence for Accessibility program which has pledged 25 million dollars over the five years for people developing AI tools that serve those with disabilities.

Fortude is a subsidiary of the Brandix group in Sri Lanka. It is formerly known as Brandixi3.

It is Sri Lanka’s first grant recipient of AI for the Accessibility program.

“What stands out the most about Fortude is how they are taking standard AI capabilities and truly revolutionizing the value of technology,” Hasitha Abeywardena, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka & Maldives said.

“The work they have done is an important step in scaling accessible technology and building on our recent advancements in Microsoft Cognitive Services and Machine Learning to develop accessible and intelligent AI solutions for all”.

This grant provides access to Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service and provides training and resources to organizations looking to tackle problems relating to work, life, and human connections.

According to Microsoft, the grant would allow Fortude to develop and launch its Dysphagia identification app.
Dyspagia app identifies swallowing difficulties in infants and children.

“We are honored to be Sri Lanka’s first recipient of Microsoft’s AI for Accessibility grant,” said Gaurika Wijeratne, Associate Vice President, Business Intelligence, Fortude.

“It is amazing when a corporation such as Microsoft focuses on scaling the reach of new technologies, like Cognitive Services and Machine Learning, to empower people with disabilities. Microsoft’s investment in projects that are uniquely solving complex issues like Dysphagia identification in youth and children is essential to creating accessible technology for all.”

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Fortude’s identification app was recognized at an event organized by Microsoft in partnership with Sri Lanka’s MJF Charitable Foundation in Sri Lanka to develop AI prototypes for people with disabilities at the AI for Accessibility Hackathon last year.

(Colombo/June23/2020)

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