Youth & Opportunity
Engineering , Math
By William Jansen, CSS Community Program Manager, EMEA, Microsoft
In 2008, Freena Eijffinger’s brother was diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder, a form of autism. It had taken more than seven years for the doctors to diagnose him, and that left Freena curious as to why it had taken so long. She did a bit of research and discovered that all diagnostics were still being carried out manually and without any computerization. This was mainly because regular vertical monitors interfere with direct communication, and the limited motor skills of Asperger sufferers make the computer mouse a poor tool for any diagnostic activities. When she first became acquainted with the Surface technology, which requires neither a monitor nor a mouse, she knew exactly what she had to do—raise funds to develop software on the Surface platform to change the lives of children with autism worldwide.
Her Surface activities soon got the attention of Microsoft Netherlands, who named her a “Surface-evangelist.” Freena has since been a frequently invited speaker at conferences such as DevDays, TechEd EMEA, DotNed, HealthValley, TEDxWomen, and CodeCamp as well as at other industry-specific healthcare and educational conventions. Together with Dennis Vroegop she taught Surface development at a university college in the Netherlands.
In early 2010 Freena entered a program for entrepreneurs sponsored by the Dutch government and TNO – The leading independent research organization in the Netherlands, known as SBIR (Small Business Innovation & Research). She was awarded €25,000 to do an attainability analysis and to develop four demo-applications that could be used to prove the value of her project to the autism branch of healthcare. When the Microsoft Surface team heard about her project, they donated a Surface developer unit. Following a review of the results from Freena’s research, TNO invested an additional €300,000 in her and her company Autitouch to develop applications to support diagnostics and treatment of autism worldwide.
In 2009, Dennis Vroegop, a Microsoft Surface Most Valuable Professional (MVP) and DotNed chairman, learned of Freena’s progress with Surface as well as her thoughts on its possible applications, and he asked to lend a hand.
“Developing for Surface is just like any other piece of software,” according to Dennis. “You have to have a design, skilled developers and designers, and of course a lot of passion.” Building on Freena’s design, Dennis drew up the functional specifications for the Surface applications. “When that was done, we set up a Team Foundation Server to hold all the project resources and then started working on the actual software,” Dennis added. (Pictured above left: Dennis Vroegop, Surface MVP from the Netherlands, and Freena Eiffinger, CEO of Autitouch)
The actual development has been completed in about 150 hoursand the applications will be released later this month, then a six-month scientific research project will begin in collaboration with the psychology department of the VU University Amsterdam for validation. A group of 60 kids – 30 diagnosed with autism and 30 without autism – will be tested using the applications. The goal is to show that with the help of the Autitouch applications, pre-diagnostics can be made possible, which will considerably shorten the diagnosis time for children with disorders such as autism. Other benefits will be improved and faster data mining and reporting, better quality observation and increased objectivity on the part of the diagnosing professional. All data will be unlocked through Microsoft’s Azure platform and Microsoft HealthVault, enabling autism experts around the world to gain better insight into autism as a disorder.
During the validation phase, experts will start to test the systems functionality and ease of use. So far the trial runs have gone extremely well-the patients have responded very well to the system.
We are extremely positive about the rest of the project. When the validation is done and we are ready to deliver to the actual intended users we won't sit back and relax: there is so much more to be done in this field and we're looking forward to the next phases!
For more information on Autitouch – visit www.autitouch.com
For more information on Microsoft’s Citizenship effort please visit: Microsoft.com/Citizenship
To stay up to date on the latest Citizenship Stories:
SHARE this story with those you think could benefit!
Chan Kwon, community affairs manager, Microsoft Korea
It is always really cool when our community partners take a new technology and find a way to make it work to help them deliver their own mission. There have been lots of examples of technologies like mobile phones or PCs being used and sometimes we forget about gaming-not anymore!
Last month Microsoft Korea in partnership with the Korean Institute of the Disabled for Independent Living held the “Kinect Contest for People with Severe Disabilities” to provide people with disabilities, most of whom use wheelchairs, with the opportunity to use the Xbox 360 with a Kinect sensor to enjoy sports games they had never thought to be able to play.
The idea actually came from the Institute. They had already seen, in an informal way, the possibility of rehabilitation benefits of using the Kinect sensor after Microsoft Korea had donated an Xbox 360 and Kinect package earlier in the year. The contest became a real cross-group effort with Microsoft staff working with Microsoft’s local Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) – a community of individuals outside Microsoft who are experts and community leaders in Microsoft technology - volunteer their time to make the event a success. In addition the Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business of Microsoft Korea updated Xbox 360 Kiosks with Kinect, so that people with disabilities could easily enjoy playing with the technology.
The result of the contest went far beyond anything either Microsoft Korea or the Institute expected. The participants immediately got immersed in the games from bowling and boxing, which created a real feeling of energy in the room with the audience and volunteers also getting involved cheering and applauding.
There were two prizes of an Xbox 360 with a Kinect sensor, one for an organization supporting people with disabilities and one for an individual winner. The prizes were awarded by Hyoungjin Shin, an amazing man who operates a computer with his eyes lying in the bed and has just graduated Yonsei University.
The event showcased that technology doesn’t just provide people with severe disabilities with access to communication and knowledge, but to fun and entertainment as well.
For more stories from Microsoft Korea, check out the Local Impact Map.
For more information on Microsoft’s Citizenship effort please visit Microsoft.com/Citizenship
Nestwärme e.V. Deutschland was founded in 1999 to help the nearly one million families in Germany caring for children with disabilities or chronic illnesses. Over 1,400 volunteers and more than 80 employees help take care of the children, which gives parents much-needed time for themselves. Whether it’s going to the doctor, running errands or simply taking a nap, parents get the time to do things they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do.
With so many families to help, Nestwärme was becoming overwhelmed by the sheer volume of cases to manage and track. Staff and volunteers needed to remain in constant communication and information-exchange mode; however much of the information they needed was scattered throughout countless emails that had to be combed through time and time again. Working this way was wasting time that could be spent providing much needed support to Nestwarme families. The organization realized that improving their use of technology could help them.
Nestwärme turned to Stifter-helfen.de – IT for Nonprofits, TechSoup Global’s partner in Germany, who were able to provide them with a software donation from Microsoft to address these issues and support their expanding work, including: Windows Server, Exchange Server, SQL Server, Windows 7 and Office 2010.
Using these donated products, Nestwärme was able to develop a Client Relationship Management system to act as the data warehouse where all relevant info and emails regarding families are stored. Now, the entire distributed team has access to this nationwide client database. The new software also enabled Nestwärme to improve its coordination of appointments between volunteers and families, to better manage volunteers’ time, and to streamline access to official forms that help families get state support for therapy and medical devices. All of which means families get faster and more thorough help.
As any parent knows, even the smallest amount of help makes a big difference. But Nestwärme is aiming to offer much more than a little help, and having the right technology tools in place is a key part of that. Microsoft is proud to help nonprofit organizations like Nestwärme pursue their missions. For information about software donations for a nonprofit you support, visit www.microsoft.com/nonprofit.
The staff at A Chacun Son Everest (“Each has their own Everest”) can’t move mountains, but they can give sick children the opportunity to climb and conquer them, and for more than 17 years, they’ve been doing just that.
A Chacun Son Everest is a French nonprofit organization (NPO) started by doctor and alpinist Christine Janin in 1994. Christine witnessed how children who have serious illnesses are all too often defined by their illness—both in their own minds and in the minds of others. She started the organization to arrange mountain-climbing trips for these children. The trips help kids get past their identity of being sick and get them into the fighting spirit by testing their internal strength. These liberating experiences are often catalysts that motivate children to face their illnesses with optimism.
For example, for a recent climb, one of the children, Antonin, “appeared on the station platform radiant and full of energy. It was a long time since anyone had seen that much light in his eyes.” The inspiration Antonin got from his climb will stay with him as he battles his illness.
However, like many nonprofits, A Chacun Son Everest recognized that new technology could increase the efficiency of the organization and enable them to bring more children on more trips.
The organization turned to AdB-SolidaTech, the TechSoup Global partner in France, to access Microsoft software through the nonprofit donation program. A Chacun Son Everest received a donation of Windows and Office, which helped them greatly improve trip coordination—coordination vital both on the mountain and in the office. Their updated email management and scheduling tools provide for better inter-office collaboration, which translated to smoother and safer climbs and more efficient communication and coordination with the families of children on the climbs.
Furthermore, the software donation meant that A Chacun Son Everest could focus its precious resources on something equally precious. “All the funds saved by the organization have made more activities possible and have helped more ill children participate in the mountain trips,” says Carole Herbert, Assistant Director of A Chacun Son Everest.
After conquering his own Everest, Marion beamed, “I left [for the trip] worried, but I’m back and I conquered change. Thank you to the entire team for welcoming me so kindly and giving me confidence in myself.”
The needs of children battling disease drive outing options for A Chacun Son Everest. Choices are based on age, sporting ability, and the evolution of the illness. Options are exciting—snowshoeing, cross country skiing, dog sledding, alpine hiking, canoeing and wall climbing.
Microsoft is proud to help organizations like A Chacun Son Everest move proverbial mountains. To learn more about free or donated resources for nonprofits around the world, visit www.microsoft.com/nonprofit.
‘Envisioning Business at its Best’ is the timely theme for the annual Corporate Philanthropy Summit that begins today, a key program sponsored by the New York-based Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy. Over the next two days CECP members, practitioners, thought leaders, government officials and experts in corporate and social engagement will examine their strategies, programs and partnerships and grapple with the overarching question of the impact of this work on the important societal challenges facing communities around the world.
During a pre-summit event, the CECP research team provided a brief overview of Trends in Corporate Giving extracted from data from the Corporate Giving Standard (CGS) Survey analysis in May 2011. Somewhat surprisingly, the research found that total giving increased among 54% of companies who gave more in 2010 than they had before the economic downturn. Aggregate total giving among companies that participated in the survey reached its highest level yet - $13 billion, up from $10.53 billion in 2007 and $10.99 billion in 2009. More details about the trends and data analysis are available through CESP's website.
CECP, which has expanded its membership beyond the U.S. to include 15 other countries, is an important international forum to share best practices, promote thought leadership and connect with likeminded individuals committed to help achieve and maintain excellence in corporate citizenship and philanthropy. Microsoft is among the nearly 170 participating companies attending this year’s conference, as we’ve done previously. Like many of our peers, we hope to gain new insights about solutions to challenges that keep us awake at night and achieving excellence and impact. Mainly, we pivot around issues of responsible stewardship of the diverse resources and tools at our disposal and effective grantmaking and partnerships that make a difference to people and communities.
This year, Microsoft is also proud to sponsor the webcast of CECP’s 11th Annual Excellence Awards in Corporate Philanthropy to be awarded later today. More than 20 companies and nonprofits have been the recipients since 2000, selected by a diverse awards jury. This year’s winner of the Chairman’s Award is The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. for 10,000 Women, a five–year $100 million initiative to provide 10,000 underserved women with a business and management education; the President’s Award is Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s Secure the Future (STF) Technical Assistance and Skills Transfer Program (TAP) that extends the impact of the Foundation’s pioneering $160 million Secure the Future program addressing HIV/AIDS in Africa, launched in 1999, and DonorsChoose.org in partnership with Crate and Barrel, to help students in need in schools across America.
Our mission is to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their
Explore the positive impact of local programs promoted and supported by Microsoft
around the world.
News, perspectives and analysis on legal and policy issues.
© 2013 Microsoft
Privacy Statement |
Connect With Us