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New app describes the world to the blind

Technology is revolutionizing the way humans live for the better. When you consider the impact of computers, smartphones and tablets, the internet, worldwide communication and robotics, it’s just plain amazing.

It’s also been helpful for people who are vision and hearing impaired. Speech-to-text and text-to-speech technology, sound amplifiers, and even thought-controlled robotics are making great strides. Now, Microsoft has developed an app that will be of great assistance to blind people.

Microsoft’s app is groundbreaking for blind people

Microsoft recently released a free app to assist blind people. It’s called Seeing AI: Talking camera for the blind.

The app is designed for the blind and visually impaired community. It harnesses the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to narrate the world around the user by describing nearby people, text and objects. Watch the following video for a brief description of how the app works:

Once the app is downloaded, simply point your gadget’s camera at another person and it will describe them. The example in the video shows the app describing someone as a 28-year-old female, wearing glasses and looking happy.

Seeing AI can also read out loud text that appears on screen. It can help someone who is blind listen to text from a book, find grocery items from the pantry and so much more.

The app is optimized for use with VoiceOver and helps you recognize:

  • People – stores people’s faces so you can recognize them later. The app gives you an estimate of their age, gender and emotions.
  • Short text – speaks text as soon as it appears in front of the camera.
  • Documents – gives audio guidance to capture a printed page. It also recognizes the text as well as its original formatting.
  • Products – lets you scan barcodes with the assistance of audio beeps to guide you. You’ll hear the name of the product as well as package information when available.
  • Currency – identifies currency bills when paying with cash. (This feature is coming soon)
  • Scenes – hear an overall description of your surroundings.
  • Images in other apps – simply tap “Share” and “Recognize with Seeing AI” to hear descriptions of images from Mail, Photos, social media apps and more.

Seeing AI uses similar technology found in self-driving cars and drones. Most of the app’s functions are executed right on the user’s gadget, but some of the more elaborate ones need a connection to the cloud.

At this time, Seeing AI is only available for iOS gadgets. There’s no word on when it will be available for Android. Click here to download the free app for iOS.

This app will be of great assistance to the visually impaired. It truly is amazing how tech is making the world a better place.

Note: If you are reading this article using the App, click here to watch the demonstration video.

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