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The University of Turin will make STEM subjects accessible with artificial intelligence

The "MatematIcA senza barriere" crowdfunding campaign is at 214% of its goal for the creation of SpeechMatE, a software to enable those with upper-limb disabilities to write and process mathematical formulas.
Formule matematiche: l'intelligenza artificiale aiuterà nella sua risoluzione

The project “MatematicA senza barriere”, launched by researchers at the University of Turin, has more than doubled its funding goal for the realization of SpeechMatE, a revolutionary software that will enable people with upper-limb disabilities to write and manipulate mathematical formulas using artificial intelligence.

Professor Sandro Coriasco of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Turin, who led this initiative with Drs. Tiziana Armano and Erika Brunetto, said, "Studying scientific disciplines independently is complex for people who have a disability in their upper limbs or cannot use their hands. A simple but straightforward example: standard dictation software would produce, from reading the formula x+3, the text ics plus three. In addition, it is not possible to correct errors and make changes via voice commands. These limitations affect the ability to access the study of STEM subjects. Thanks to crowdfunding, we are building around the project a wide network of supporters, allies and partners who, in addition to financial support, are helping us to publicize and grow our work: the community response is exciting“.

The project was born out of the need to find a solution to this challenge. Jan Berger, a student at the University of Turin who became quadriplegic due to an accident, contacted the Polin Laboratory of the Department of Mathematics led by Prof. Anna Capietto to ask for assistance in writing and solving mathematical formulas. Dr. Tiziana Armano recounted the incident as follows, "We have been dedicated to the SpeechMatE project since 2019, since Jan asked us what software to use to write and solve formulas. His question, unfortunately, we could not find an effective answer, so we decided to develop new software in-house“.

Now, through the use of artificial intelligence models, the project aims to create a more powerful tool that allows students with disabilities to dictate, manipulate and navigate through mathematical formulas using only their voice, thus overcoming the limitations of current systems.

The crowdfunding campaign has been a great success, far exceeding its initial goal and involving 196 donors to date. This financial support will enable research grants critical to the development and testing of the new SpeechMatE prototype, using models that can correctly interpret the necessary speech cues.

Regarding the significance of the project, Dr. Erika Brunetto added, "This is a project with a lot of complexity. It needs expertise from different areas of contemporary scientific research: mathematics education, software development, Natural Language Processing, Human-Computer Interaction, Large Language Models. The implementation of the project involves a team of more than ten researchers active in these fields“.

Vice Chancellor for the Enhancement of the Human and Cultural Heritage of the University of Turin, Alessandro Zennaro, stressed the importance of initiatives such as "MatematIcA without Barriers" in bringing scientific research closer to the community and in demonstrating its immediate impact on everyday life. Similarly, Elisa Rosso, Director of UniTo's Innovation and Internationalization Department, highlighted the value of crowdfunding in supporting research and innovation projects, opening up new opportunities for collaboration with interested institutional and corporate partners.

To support the "MatematIcA without Barriers" project, it is possible to donate until February 15 by visiting the dedicated page on the Idea Ginger portal at this link by paying through PayPal, bank transfer or credit card.


Luca Coppolella
Head of Content


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