Giving back

SwiftKey is committed to making communication faster and easier for everyone. We have applied our core language technology and expertise to a number of assistive tech projects, including an app that supports people with special needs, and a partnership with a start-up that helps people with mobility issues communicate more effectively.

Prof. Stephen Hawking

SwiftKey has been working with Professor Stephen Hawking, integrating our trademark prediction technology into the scientist’s existing system to improve his ability to communicate. Professor Hawking has motor neurone disease so is only able to communicate using a small sensor which is activated by a muscle in his cheek. He uses this sensor to ‘type’ characters and numbers on his keyboard.

SwiftKey’s technology, integrated into Intel’s system, enables him to accurately predict whole words, rather than just characters. That means that the time and effort Professor Hawking requires to type is significantly reduced, allowing for a much easier, speedier experience for him.

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By understanding the way he uses language, SwiftKey's technology makes it faster and easier for Stephen to communicate, leaving him more time to consider the secrets of the universe.

Joe Osborne, SDK Team Lead, SwiftKey

Click2Speak

SwiftKey has also collaborated with Israeli company Click2Speak, a startup that helps people with mobility issues communicate more effectively. After being diagnosed with ALS - a severe form of motor neurone disease - in 2009, Israeli developer and former adrenaline junkie Gal Sont decided to launch a startup to help people with mobility problems.

Frustrated at the lack of communicative tools available for people with severe disabilities Gal and long-time friend Dan developed a superior on-screen keyboard, aided by an eye tracking camera that would effectively ‘type’ using only eye movement.

The duo adapted and integrated SwiftKey’s technology for their keyboard, creating a product that predicts and learns from the individual user, resulting in a much easier and faster 'typing' experience.

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What makes this technology so sophisticated is the inclusion of tech from the highly successful SwiftKey Android keyboard. Sont used it to greatly speed up the process of typing words without hands.

New Statesman

SwiftKey Symbols

Late last year SwiftKey released SwiftKey Symbols, a symbol-based assistive communication app targeted at non-verbal people with special needs. The app was developed as part of SwiftKey Greenhouse, a platform that enables us to build new products for our users to test out for free.

Although other apps make it easy to define preferred images, only SwiftKey Symbols attempts to simplify finding the right symbols through machine learning prediction. The ability to provide the technology free is also a huge benefit to this community for whom assistive tools can be costly and inaccessible. The team worked closely with members of staff at Riverside School who tested the product out with their pupils.

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The picture keyboard ANYONE can use: SwiftKey unveils system that allows special needs children to message.

Daily Mail