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Accenture, Grameen Foundation’s apps to boost women’s financial inclusion

Accenture Labs in collaboration with the non-profit Grameen Foundation has developed two artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR)-based applications that can boost rural women's access to financial services

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Accenture releases app to empower women. IANS

Accenture Labs in collaboration with the non-profit Grameen Foundation has developed two artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR)-based applications that can boost rural women’s access to financial services.

The apps — Emotional Analytics for Social Enterprises (EASE) and Grameen Guru — will be rolled out by Grameen Foundation India across 300 villages in the states of Maharashtra and Odisha, Accenture Labs said in a statement on Wednesday.

Leveraging AI and AR-based technologies, the applications will help users better understand financial products and services, enabling them to make informed choices that positively impact their financial and social well-being.

mobile apps that all women should have
This app will empower rural women. Wikimedia Commons

“This is a tremendous example of how technology can help bridge the vast cultural and educational divide in places like India, having a real impact on the way people work and live,” said Sanjay Podder, Managing Director, Accenture Labs India.

EASE is an AI-based web and mobile app that helps microfinance advisors gain real-time insights into the emotional and cognitive status of their clients, based on video and audio inputs.

Helping to improve cross-cultural communication, the tool provides deeper insights on precisely what topics or keywords attract attention, or cause clients to disengage. On the other hand, Grameen Guru is a smartphone-based multilingual chatbot that leverages AR technology to help clients who cannot read and understand written material.

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Using the app, a user can hold their phone over a brochure that details available financing options, for example, and the Guru virtual assistant will pop up and prompt a conversation in the local language to explain the material.

“Barriers — ranging from illiteracy to a lack of bank branches in rural areas, coupled with a lack of confidence and access to information — hinder adoption for millions of low-income women in India,” said Prabhat Labh, CEO, Grameen Foundation India. The use of these new technologies will enable effective economic empowerment of women, he noted. IANS

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New Device Can Detect Unattended Kids Or Animals

The new device developed in University of Waterloo, Canada can detect unattended kids and animals

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This new device can help save kids and animals in vehicles. Pixabay

Researchers from University of Waterloo, Canada, have developed a new device which combines radar technology with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect unattended children or animals with a 100 per cent accuracy.

Small enough to fit in the palm of a hand at just 3nm in diameter, the device is designed to be attached to a vehicle’s rear-view mirror or mounted on the ceiling.

According to the researchers, it sends out radar signals that are reflected back by people, animals and objects in the vehicle. The built-in AI then analyses the reflected signals.

“Unlike cameras, this device preserves privacy and it doesn’t have any blind spots because radar can penetrate seats, for instance, to determine if there is an infant in a rear-facing car seat,” said study researcher George Shaker, a Professor at the University.

“This system is so affordable it could become standard equipment in all vehicles,” he added.

Development of the wireless, disc-shaped sensor was funded in part by a major automotive parts manufacturer that is aiming to bring it to market by the end of 2020.

Analysis by the device determines the number of occupants and their locations in a vehicle.

That information could be used to set rates for ride-sharing services and toll roads, or to qualify vehicles for car-pool lanes.

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According to the researchers, the device sends out radar signals that are reflected back by people, animals and objects in the vehicle. Pixabay

Its primary purpose, however, is to detect when a child or pet has been accidentally or deliberately left behind, a scenario that can result in serious harm or death in extremely hot or cold weather, the study said.

In such cases, the system would prevent vehicle doors from locking and sound an alarm to alert the driver, passengers and other people in the area that there is a problem.

The low-power device, which runs on a vehicle’s battery, distinguishes between living beings and inanimate objects by detecting subtle breathing movements.

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Researchers were now also exploring the use of that capability to monitor the vital signs of drivers for indications of fatigue, distraction, impairment, illness or other issues.

The study was presented at the IEEE Sensors 2019 conference in Canada. (IANS)