Microsoft’s Enable group focuses on creating technologies to help restore capabilities of people living with disabilities, and Team Gleason is their flagship project. Image Source: Microsoft Blog

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) decided to join the Team Gleason Initiative, a charity foundation that provides top-of-the-line treatment and technology for individuals suffering neuromuscular diseases.

The organization surges alongside the movie Gleason, their vehicle to raise awareness about Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It is an acclaimed documentary film about a former NFL player who was diagnosed with the disease.

What is ALS?

ALS is a rapidly progressive and fatal neurological disease that attacks and kills nerve cells and invariably leave the subject incapable of motor functions.

When the ability of the brain to start and control voluntary movement are lost due to the illness, the muscles quickly wither away, and the body is left in a very fragile state.

It is a rare and incurable autoimmune condition that is often associated with the former New York Yankees star, Lou Gehrig, who died from ALS on June 1941.

What about Microsoft’s involvement?

Microsoft partnership with Team Gleason against the “Lou Gehrig disease” started two years ago, when thousands of employees from the Technology and Research brand spend days looking for projects that could have a real impact during the annual hackathon.

Steve Gleason was invited to the event, and he challenged Microsoft to develop technology to help people with ALS, specifically to help him communicate more easily and be able to play with his son.

Fast-forward two years, and the Microsoft Enable Team joined Team Gleason and Steve with the goal to produce technology to move their wheelchairs and communicate through their keyboards using only the movement of their eyes.

They were able to develop technology that helps Steve do what he asked: be more independent.

The former NFL star regularly uses Microsoft technology on his wheelchair to move around and communicate with friends and family. He can now communicate through a machine with an eye-tracking technology that runs on Windows 10. He also runs the small screen tablet connected to his chair with the tech, which he commonly uses to tweet.

It keeps him connected and active on his every day. Every feature of his house (from the curtains to the freezer door) are also attached to the Windows tablet and controlled with the movement of his eyes.

It doesn’t mean Gleason doesn’t face challenges that anyone else considers a dull habit. Scratching his nose or biting a cracker is a huge ordeal. He still often sees his situation as an opportunity to inspire others in a similar situation.

Source: Microsoft Blog

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