Microsoft Launches 'Seeing AI' Talking Camera App for the Blind

Microsoft has launched a free app called Seeing AI to help those who are visually impaired

Microsoft's Seeing AI app, which relies on the iPhone camera, can read out short snippets of text, describe people, identify products and currency denominations, and take a stab at identifying the objects in a person's surroundings.

What's particularly impressive about the app is the breadth of things it can describe.

Optimized for use with VoiceOver, the app enables you to recognize.

The app is now available in just six countries: The US, Canada, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore - however, Microsoft says that the app will be available in other countries soon. However, Seeing AI's experimental features - like describing an entire scene or recognizing hand-writing - require a connection to the cloud.

If you get a document but can't read the print, using Seeing AI provides audio guidance for capturing the document and then spoken words reading the text to the app user. To that end, the software giant reorganized its AI efforts a year ago, with the formation of the Microsoft AI and Research Group.

Microsoft Launches 'Seeing AI' Talking Camera App for the Blind
Microsoft Launches 'Seeing AI' Talking Camera App for the Blind

The app, which is free and available on iOS-only, relies on holding up one's smartphone camera to hear information about the world.

Microsoft has a short introductory video that gives a great taste of all that the app can do, embedded below.

The app can, for example, recognize saved friends' faces and even estimate where they are in relation to you, and at what distance.

For example, Microsoft brought its SQL Server database software to Linux, and it has ported Office apps to the iPad. However, hopefully, we'll see this research carry over onto other platforms, as it could be a very beneficial tool for the visually impaired.

Microsoft is putting its artificial intelligence technology to work to help the visually impaired.

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