ELSA Lab AI4Access

Published on: 10 May 2022

Auditory or visual impairments or low literacy can limit the access to knowledge and services that are important for cultural, social and political participation. This leads to social inequality within society and insufficient representation for certain population groups in political debates and decision-making processes.

New AI techniques have the potential to make knowledge and services more broadly accessible. An important point to consider is that these new AI technologies must be developed in a way that goes hand in hand with thorough research into the ethical, legal and social aspects connected to their use.

What social challenges in AI are being worked on?

The AI4Access Lab is working on new AI techniques, co-design methods and policy recommendations for ensuring that key areas of knowledge and services become more accessible for people with auditory or visual impairments or low literacy levels, which will increase their cultural, social and political participation – an important precondition for a more inclusive society.

What types of solutions are offered to the end user?

The lab focuses principally on AI techniques that convert the information into formats that are accessible to the end users, e.g. from text to speech (for people with a visual impairment or limited literacy), from speech to text (for people with an auditory impairment but good literacy), or from speech to sign language (for people with an auditory impairment for whom sign language is more accessible than written texts).

What AI methods or techniques are used in the research?

The AI4Access ELSA Lab is developing new co-design methods that focus specifically on end users with auditory or visual impairments or limited literacy. Existing co-design methodologies are often not yet ready for this.

Are we collaborating with other sectors?

The ELSA lab cooperates with various centres of expertise, authority bodies and organisations from the public sector, the cultural sector (libraries and museums in particular), and the technology sector.

What is the ultimate success this ELSA Lab can achieve?

The AI4Access ELSA Lab aims to use new AI technologies to make knowledge and services accessible for everyone, helping create a more inclusive society.

Awarded the NL AIC Label

NL AIC LabelThe Netherlands AI Coalition has developed the NL AIC Label to underline its vision for the development and application of AI in the Netherlands. An NL AIC Label formally recognises an activity that is in line with the aims and strategic goals of the NL AIC and/or the quality of that activity. NL AIC would like to congratulate the AI4Access ELSA Lab.


The AI4Access ELSA Lab is a partnership involving Delft Technical University, the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, Hogeschool Rotterdam, the National Library of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, the Reading and Writing Foundation, the Accessibility Foundation, the ABC Foundation, Probiblio, the Nederlands Gebarencentrum , the Digital Living Alliance, Dedicon, Amberscript, Sioux Technologies, Envision, Heren van Design and Dropstuff Media BV.

More information?

If you’re interested in this ELSA Lab, please contact Alessandro Bozzon. If you would like more information about human-centric AI and the ELSA concept, please go to this page.

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