People who experience visual impairments can now have an amazingly innovative app for the IOS phone users from the minds at Microsoft! The smartphone app uses artificial intelligence and when the user points their phone’s camera, this allows the phone to identify what the user is seeing. It can also work on people as well, it best guesses who someone is and how they are feeling. This is all done locally on your smartphone.
What can it do?
The app can narrate short and long text documents and also recognizes the font form and word formatting when it’s reading long documents. It can also read cursive writing and help read menus and signs for the user! The Seeing AI app can help identify images from other apps such as photos, mail, Twitter, Facebook and a lot more.
When the user is looking at products it can scan barcodes and it beeps to make sure the code is in the frame. This innovative app will also say the product name, cost, and delivery/shipping information. People’s faces, age, gender and emotions can also be deciphered. These features can be useful for people who just have trouble telling how people are feeling or if they forget who they are.
In the beta testing scene mode version, the artificial intelligence reads scenes the camera is viewing and can narrate after capturing a photograph. The description then is explained to the user. The app can also help people identify money and the currency (it can only identify US currency for the time being). For the visually impaired using money can be quiet a challenge, especially if the bills and coins don’t have brail on them. This app certainly does assist those with visual impairments to navigate a world that relies so heavily on visual cues, situations and signals.
How does it work?
The A.I uses neural networks which, helps identify everything in the surrounding area.It is the same technology in smart powered devices like self-driving cars and drones, The AI app can be used without stable wi-fi when basic functions are being used but when heavier functions are used the app requires a connection to the cloud network.
When will it be available from outside the USA?
This app is currently only available in six other countries (Canada, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore for now). The app will become more widely available in the near future. It is not yet known when they will release the app for Android users. The app is free in the App Store.
Not just for the visually impaired?
People who may experience issues with sounding out words or have trouble reading English can also use this app to their advantage. People who also have difficulties with recognizing and remembering people’s faces and names can use the app to assist in the visual recall, This can also be useful for those who have a hard time in group situations and can’t follow what’s going on around them.
My Personal Add-on Requests
I would personally like the app to add narrated map directions, video descriptions (for home videos), narrate out reviews/articles from online, have google search engine support, texting/messaging audio support, voice recognition support (for when people are calling) and help with online banking. I think that these features would make the Seeing AI App even more helpful. People who don’t like to use glasses or eye contacts like me can now have the option to use this app which I think is great. Technology is becoming more advanced every day which is exciting! Should you use this instead of a seeing eye dog though? That is a personal choice, I would suggest you use both! Having extra help is never a bad thing and should not hinder your ability to live the life you want!