Microsoft has very recently launched an app that uses the phone’s camera to narrate the world it sees for in order to help the people who are blind. The app available on the App Store for iPhone app called the Seeing AI can not only identify people but also facial expressions, currency, describe a scene and also read pieces of text.

Seeing AI can tell users if they have not moved a document under the camera and guide them when reading the text. It can also scan bar codes and also provide information about products. Seeing AI still has some more experimental settings, because of the fact that it actually started as a research project for Microsoft.

The iPhone app also has the ability to identify images which are present in third-party apps, such as identifying some specific image on Twitter, or perhaps Facebook.  The app is currently available in the US, Canada, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, but as time progresses, it will be further available in even more countries.

Microsoft engineer Saqib Shaikh was the one to demonstrate the project, and this was done just last year, in March. This was no less than an inspiring story, as the engineer himself lost his sight at the age of seven. He said last year: “I teamed up with like-minded engineers to make an app which lets you know who and what is around you … years ago this was science fiction. I never thought it would be something you can actually do, but artificial intelligence is improving at an ever faster rate and I am excited to see where this can go.”

It is true that many people who are blind find many areas of smartphones to be inaccessible, it is also true that iPhone and Android devices have many features which perhaps may assist the visually impaired, and one fine example of this is the voice assistants or even Apple’s VoiceOver screen reader.


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