Microsoft Releases App For Visually Impaired

Celine Murphy July 12, 2017
Microsoft Releases App For Visually Impaired
Microsoft Releases App For Visually Impaired

Microsoft Inc who released a prototype of an application made especially made for visually impaired people last year has finally released the Seeing AI app to all iOS users for free on Wednesday. The company first revealed the application to developers at the Build conference last year through a smart glass.

This is the first time the application will be used in an Apple device and is currently available only in the U.S., Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, India, and New Zealand. However, the company is already planning its release in other countries as well. There is currently no specific date to whether when it will be released in other countries or when it will be made available for Android devices.

The application which was released as a part of Microsoft’s efforts in helping blind or visually impaired people all over the world see in a different way.

The Seeing AI application which uses a smartphone camera or camera installed smart glasses will identify the things in a person’s environment whether it's people, objects, things, or even emotions. Some who is visually impaired can point their phone or device camera at a person or direction and will describe a person’s emotion or surroundings.

Microsoft primarily utilized artificial intelligence technology in the development of the application. The application may also try to describe a person’s age and emotion as well as products through barcodes. The Seeing AI application can also identify the US currency as it is known to feature the same size and color no matter the value is which comes off as a difficult task for those who are visually impaired.

According to Microsoft, it also will be working on developing AI-infused features design guidelines set that will help with transparency and add ethics to the use of the application or other related products.

The company recently started a new Microsoft Research AI program headed by Eric Horvitz who will be working with a hundred people in designing and specializing various artificial intelligence technologies. They will be separated from Microsoft AI and Research which currently houses more than 6,000 people.


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Celine Murphy
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