Are you visually impaired? If so, Microsoft's latest app is for you.
Microsoft has released a new smartphone app, called Seeing AI, which uses computer vision to describe things to the visually impaired. With the app, you can simply focus your phone’s camera on an object or person, and then you'll get a narration about what it is or who they are and even how they're feeling. The app uses artificial intelligence and neural networks to identify the world around you.
- Are you colour blind? This Microsoft app will help you see colour
- This Microsoft app uses Cortana tech to add voice dictation to Office
In other words, this is the same type of technology being used to power innovations like self-driving cars. We first saw a demo of Seeing AI at Microsoft's 2016 Build conference, but the app is now finally available to download in the US on iOS. And it's completely free. We've contacted Microsoft to find out whether the app is coming to Android or other countries and will update when we know more.
From what we can tell, Seeing AI is capable of identifying people it’s seen before. It can also guess things like age and emotion. It can scan barcodes and documents and recognise US currency. And all this data can make a world of difference to the visually impaired, as it can be smartly interpreted and relaid in an instant, helping them to navigate around and get things done quickly.
Microsoft said Seeing AI demonstrates how technology can make the world more inclusive, and we couldn't agree more.