Data Driven Transformation Award Winner

“Project Understood”
Google + FCB + Canadian Down Syndrome Society

With 8 billion voice assistants expected to be in use around the world by 2023, the future will be voice-first, but that future doesn’t include people with Down syndrome. Voice technology doesn’t always understand their unique speech patterns, leaving them behind in the voice revolution. As a marginalized community, their needs were never considered. 

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) had two problems to solve:

  1. Make voice technology more accessible to people with Down syndrome.
  2. Shift perceptions of a stigmatized community by showing how access to voice technology can lead to lifechanging independence.

Adults with Down syndrome are capable of living independently; they simply require more structure and assistance. Strategies to help them remember to cook, clean and complete their routines are required; they need more support to be safe. Because of their unique needs, voice assistants would be an invaluable tool, allowing them to set automatic reminders and schedules, build to- do lists and get easy access to help. 

Project Understood, a campaign that turns people with Down syndrome into Google’s teachers, using their voices to train Google’s speech recognition model to understand them. Making voice technology more inclusive, by including people with Down syndrome in creating the solution.


Mosaic Award 2021 Winners