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Microsoft and Disabled Military Veterans Create a Hands-Free Music Anthem for the Invictus Games



McCann New York and London team up on project to allow wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans to take part in the Invictus Games

Microsoft and Disabled Military Veterans Create a Hands-Free Music Anthem for the Invictus Games

Microsoft, in partnership with the Invictus Games Foundation and McCann, have used the power of technology to create a new way for more wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans to take part in the Invictus Games. Not through playing sport, through playing music.  

In recognition of the fact that many may be unable to take part in the Games, the team invited a group of wounded, injured and sick service (WIS for short) personnel and veterans to do the incredible: Create an anthem for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020.

Anthem For All uses bespoke technology to enable WIS personnel and veterans to play instruments that they would otherwise be unable to play in order to compose a truly inclusive anthem for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020, which was played at every medals ceremony at this year’s Games in The Hague, Netherlands, between 16-22 April. 

Working in collaboration with Microsoft’s Hands-Free Technology Lab in San Francisco, the project team adapted existing tech and created bespoke solutions to suit the varied abilities of the participants. Utilising Xbox adaptive controllers and Gaze eye tracking technology, the team assembled an orchestra of instruments that could be played with limited hand mobility or even eye movement, restoring a part of them that had previously been taken away by their injuries.  

The musicians were backed by the Invictus Games Choir, themselves all wounded, injured or sick service personnel and veterans also.

The campaign features Private Karl Hinett and Lance Corporal Emma Lumb:

- A short film  - produced by Irresistible Studios - documenting the project uncovers the journey that the participants went through, from their life in service, to their life after injury, to finally being able to play music again.

- Private Karl Hinett talks movingly about his hands being so badly damaged that playing the guitar again became impossible. But with the adapted technology he was able to rediscover his love for the instrument and contribute to the anthem’s creation.

- More incredible still, we see Lance Corporal Emma Lumb talk about how injuries she sustained led to her becoming tetraplegic and watch as she’s now able to play the tubular bells with just a flick of her eyes. Under the guidance of Music Director Davy Williamson and with a group of other wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans, the anthem was recorded at the world-famous Metropolis Studios in London and revealed at The Games.

In collaboration with McCann New York, the campaign will have even wider reach with the full website experience later this year which will dive deeper into how Microsoft accessible technologies helped Karl and Emma recapture their love for music after trauma took it away from them. There will also be an opportunity for users to try out the technologies and make music of their own.

Sally Elliott, director commercial marketing, Microsoft: “Microsoft believes in empowering every person on the planet to do more and be more with the help of technology. Few things demonstrate that philosophy more than this project. It’s been an honour working with a like-minded partner like the Invictus Games Foundation to make this a reality."

Private Karl Hinett commented: “My injuries were so severe that I didn’t think I’d ever play guitar again. But the opportunity to take part in this project and create a new Anthem has changed that completely. Through the power of technology, I have rediscovered my love of music. And the creation of ‘Anthem For All’ means we’ll forever be a part of the Invictus Games.”

Sanjiv Mistry, executive creative director, McCann London, says: “It’s only fitting that such an inclusive, inspirational organisation as The Invictus Games gets an anthem that lives and breathes those values. To help make this happen, it needed not just cutting-edge tech, but some incredible people at the heart of it.   From the moment Karl and Emma came forward they’ve shown nothing but bravery, openness and enthusiasm to be involved in such a landmark creation.”

Matt Collis, commercial and fundraising director at the Invictus Games Foundation, comments: "This project with Microsoft challenged us to rethink the possible with technology. We’re excited to see the potentials for the future, and thank Karl, Emma, and the Invictus Games Choir for their involvement. The repurposed Invictus Anthem was a powerful inclusion in the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 Medal Ceremonies.”


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McCann London, Thu, 28 Apr 2022 15:39:04 GMT