On July 12, Microsoft released a new app called Seeing AI and which was specially designed to help those visually impaired navigate through the city. This makes use of the smartphone’s camera to narrate and describe the surroundings to the user.
It can do so thanks to computer vision. This identifies the objects and persons in the vicinity of the visually disabled owner. By doing so, it can then provide them with a context and a description of their environment and surroundings.
Seeing AI, a Step Forward Towards a Mobile Health Ecosystem
Microsoft describes its newest tool as “A free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the low vision community, this research project harnesses the power of AI to describe people, text, and objects”.
As pointed out in its report, Seeing AI will try to be a universal tool. Namely, it will be able to read aloud text messages, email, or documents, among others. It will also be using the smartphone’s camera to scan barcodes. In doing so, it will be able to identify household products and maybe even provide instructions to the user.
Seeing AI’s system will also help it recognize currency values, which might make it a useful tool while paying bills or traveling.
As pointed out, the app will also be using the phone’s camera to take photos of and then describe surroundings, people. It can even try and describe their emotions, a feature already being tested and used by other apps as well.
By offering this and various other options, Microsoft seems to be ramping up its efforts to integrate artificial intelligence and make it useful to its users.
All of the features of the new app are looking to make visually impaired people as independent as possible. Being able to read aloud texts, besides those received on the phone, means being able to read anything from street signs to restaurant menus, among others.
This can help increase the user’s mobility and confidence. Ultimately, it could assist them in navigating easier through the usual or less routine daily tasks. Seeing AI is currently available on iOS.
Image Source: Pexels