Microsoft launches AI app for visually impaired

As you point the camera at things in the world around you, the app will describe that world in a quick, informative manner.

It can, for example, recognize friends, guess the emotions of people from their facial expressions, read text, identify bank notes, identify products from their bar-codes, and even recognize images in apps like Twitter ...

What's particularly impressive about the app is the breadth of things it can describe. Seeing AI is a free app that narrates the world around you. We've contacted Microsoft to find out whether the app is coming to Android or other countries and will update when we know more.

Read text quickly. Hear short amounts of text instantly and get audio guidance to capture full documents. The app also works with text documents and images. As all dollar bills are the same size and color regardless of value, spotting the difference can be hard or even impossible for the visually impaired. Well, the company has been working on the app over the past year, and it's now available for all to download on iOS devices. To that end, the software giant reorganized its AI efforts past year, with the formation of the Microsoft AI and Research Group. As well as recognizing people it's seen before and guessing strangers' age and emotion, it can identify household products by scanning barcodes.

Are you visually impaired?

Microsoft also today announced at an AI event in London, a new program called AI for Earth.

For example, it was able to identify a woman playing with a frisbee in a park, saying 'I think it's a young girl, throwing a frisbee in the park'.

The Seeing AI app is very simple to use.

While the app's basic functions are carried out on the device, experimental features such as "scene descriptions" require a cloud connection.

  • Joey Payne