Microsoft’s new iPhone app aids blind people to ‘see’ things around them

Microsoft has released an app for iPhone, designed to translate the visual world into an audible experience for those with vision impairments.

Making use of artificial intelligence for image recognition, and natural language processing, Seeing AI uses the smartphone’s camera to capture what’s happening around the user, then relay this through speech. Point the app at a person and it will use facial recognition software to tell you that individual’s gender, age and emotion. Aim it at something that contains text – like a street sign or a document – and it will speak what it reads.

The app is also able to relay product information from scanned barcodes, while features are being developed for identifying currency – useful for handing over cash in a shop – and for describing wider scenes.

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