Chieko Asakawa is an IBM Fellow at T. J. Watson Research Center and IBM Distinguished Service Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. She concurrently serves as Chief Executive Director of the Japanese National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan). She has been instrumental in furthering accessibility research and development for three decades. By challenging traditional thinking on how the visually impaired use technology, she has explored solutions to improve Web accessibility and usability for the visually impaired and others with special needs. A series of pioneering technologies generated under Chieko's leadership significantly contributed to advancing Web accessibility, including groundbreaking work in digital Braille and voice browser.
Today, Chieko is focusing on advancing cognitive assistant research to help the blind regain information by augmenting missing or weakened abilities in the real world by the power of AI. Since 2017, she has been leading a research project to realize a practical indoor navigation system for the visually impaired pedestrians, and deployed several services including Pittsburgh airport and a shopping mall in Japan.
She is now working for an AI suitcase that navigates blind users even in a crowded or changing environment and helps them to enjoy urban environments.