Order a coffee without speaking

Order a coffee without opening your mouth, with one hand and without having to hold a device like a smartphone in your hands; the experience developed by a Quebec artificial intelligence company did not go unnoticed at South by Southwest (SXSW).
After almost three months of work, Stradigi AI is here to demonstrate the progress of its system to facilitate communication for hearing-impaired people at this technology and innovation festival in Austin, Texas. or become deaf.

The goal is simple: to show that there are not really any limits to trading, even when it’s time to place an order.

“We wanted to democratize artificial intelligence a little more by giving a concrete example,” says Vice President Marketing of the company, Hugo Thibault, in an interview with La Presse canadienne. Our dream is to have all the [American Sign Language] vocabulary in an app. We would like to give it. ”

The algorithm developed by Stradigi AI, which is in a computer, allows to interpret the movements of sign language and, conversely, precisely explains to anyone how to be understood in this language.

In just a few days, the interactive café, where it is impossible to be served verbally, has served over 1500 hot drinks, according to Mr. Thibault. The company is clearly visible at SXSW, as the location is in one of the main hotels where many conferences are held where the theme of artificial intelligence is on the menu.

In addition, Stradigi AI says it has had discussions with the University of Texas, which is interested in this technology, since according to the latest data from the State Department of Health and Social Services, which date from 2005, there are more than 3.8 million people who are hard of hearing or deafened in the state.

Starbucks and Tim Hortons

“It’s really a simultaneous translation tool,” said Thibault. For example, we would like to offer it [to coffee chains] Starbucks and Tim Hortons. ”

In the fall, the American coffee giant had also opened a first establishment, in the Washington area, where we communicated with the American language signs, thanks to various technological tools.

Mr. Thibault also indicated that we should be able to test this technology in Quebec soon in the premises of Lune Rouge, since Stradigi AI will be part of this new initiative deployed by the founder of Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberté.

This interactive café is a business card for the Quebec company that has existed since 2005 and is present in several sectors, such as customer-specific recommendation systems, anomaly detection and image interpretation – especially in the field of sports, where she joined the German leAD, founded by the grandsons of the founder of the brand Adidas.

Stradigi AI currently has nearly 115 employees in Montreal and six others in Toronto, but its workforce is expected to grow rapidly.

“There are nearly 200 positions to fill at home,” said Thibault. We should be 300 by the end of the year hopefully. ”

The Quebec company was not the only representative of the artificial intelligence sector at SXSW. Other players in the sector – Workland, the Front Row Ventures venture capital fund and District 3 Innovation Center, a startup accelerator – participated in a roundtable organized by the Quebec delegation to celebrate the merits of Montreal as a place of development.

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