Microsoft’s Seeing AI App for iPhone Helps Describe the World to Visually Impaired Using AI

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 12 Jul 2017

Microsoft has released a new Seeing AI app for iPhone that uses computer vision to describe the world for visually impaired. Download the app, point it to a person or an object and Seeing AI using its AI power will tell how the person is feeling or what the object is.

Microsoft had first demoed its Seeing AI app in March 2016 at its BUILD conference and starting today, it is finally making the app available for download on the US iOS App Store.

The app can be useful for visually impaired as it can read and scan documents, guess someone’s age and emotion, and even recognise the value of the US currency. Apart from that, one can also share images to Seeing AI which would then be described by the app. There is also a Scenes mode in the app that provides one with an overall description of the scene captured. It is in early preview though so it is bound to be buggy.

Since Seeing AI will primarily be used by visually impaired users, it has been optimised to work with VoiceOver.

Seeing AI is powered by neural networks meaning it requires access to an active internet connection to work properly. Basic identification of objects is done directly on the device though for optimum user experience.

Speaking to The Verge at a Microsoft event in London, Saqib Shaikh, the tech lead on Seeing AI, said he most commonly used the app for reading documents like signs and menus. He points out the app doesn’t just perform the basic task of optical character recognition technology, but also directs the user — telling them to move the camera left or right to get the target in shot.

Seeing AI’s facial recognition capabilities are also ahead of other similar apps as it can recognise one’s face in just a few milliseconds.

Download: Seeing AI

[Via The Verge]