“We started Oswald Foundation with a Chrome extension that lets users with learning disorders such as dyslexia customize the design of webpages, and released it on the web for free. Our goal was to make the web more disabled-friendly, and we did it with one small step. Since then, we’ve come a long way, with our research project Shravan being the first blind- and illiterate-friendly smartphone in the world, with Digital India features such as Aadhaar and UPI integration,” said Anand Chowdhary, the co-founder and CEO of Oswald Labs. “We are now focussing on building technology for not just the differently abled, but the next billion users. The name ‘Oswald Labs’ enables us to become a startup—or rather a think tank—with a research-driven approach to solve problems for the next billion internet users.”
Website owners can customize the number of accessible “modes” and features they want to add, and researchers and developers can contribute to the platform by building and adding more modes. With this, websites can always stay on the latest version of accessibility features. It also works in over 100 languages and lets blind uses read aloud the text of a webpage.
“Our dyslexia-friendly mode is based on years of research done by the British Dyslexia Association and the W3C, and is the first-of-its-kind implemented on the web. Using our tool, users with learning disorders such as dyslexia can control the typography elements (font size, font face, line height, etc.), along with color schemes with high contrast to be able to read with ease,” Mahendra Singh Raghuwanshi, Oswald Labs’ COO explained.
Companies can also get access to raw data and computed analytics about their users’ disabilities and find out what modes are being used. They can also easily integrate with Google Analytics or other third-party tools. The blue light filter simulates an adjustment to the color temperature of a user’s display to reduce eye strain and disruption of sleep patterns.
Oswald Labs also aims to use advanced artificial intelligence to build technology that helps bring the next billion users online. For example, their Shravan smartphone OS uses machine learning to analyse a user’s calling patterns to recommend relevant contacts based on location and time. A11Y.co is no different, as CTO Nishant Gadihoke explains. “We’re the first company using deep learning-based image recognition to analyse user-generated content and apply it to accessibility. For example, our AutoALT feature understand what’s in images and adds captions automatically, so blind users can hear what the contents of a picture are.”
Earlier this year, BW Disrupt exclusively reported that Oswald Foundation was opening an office in the entrepreneurial city of Enschede in the Netherlands. Today, Oswald Labs is in multiple cities in two continents, and all of that growth in just 15 months.