Seeing Eye Dog or Seeing AI? By Eye Physicians and Surgeons, P.A. on May 15, 2018

You will want to get this app called "Seeing AI" if you are visually impaired.  As well, if you know someone with a visual impairment you will want to tell them about this app developed by Microsoft for the iphone.  

The Seeing AI (artificial intelligence) describes the world for the visually impaired using computer vision.  The individual can point the phone’s camera at a person and AI will say who it is and how they are feeling.  Similarly, pointing the phone’s camera at an object will bring a description for the individual to hear.  A prototype of the app was ready over a year ago and in July of 2017 it was available to download for free in the United States.

This exciting development works in quite a few instances:

           recognizes people it has seen before

can guess a strangers’ age and emotion

identifies household products by scanning barcodes

scans and automatically reads documents aloud - great for reading the newspaper!

recognizes US currency

The last app mentioned is quite valuable as it is impossible for the visually impaired to tell the difference between a $1 and a $5 etc.  One can imagine how vulnerable an individual could be to those who take advantage of others and this new app can provide protection.

The lead tech on the Seeing AI at Microsoft, Saqib Shaikh, stated the most common use for this app was reading signs and menus.  He also points out that the Seeing AI does more than the basic task of optical character recognition – it directs the user as well, i.e. telling them which direction to move the camera in order to get a good shot.                                                                                                                                            

One of the important considerations in the development and use of this application is speed, and face recognition can be accomplished within a few milliseconds.  This can make someone who is visually impaired a lot more independent and secure at home and on the street.

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