With the help of a new application designed for visually handicapped people, blindness is no longer a setback. With this new and encouraging advancement in technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI), millions of blind people around the world are going to benefit greatly. The app developed by Microsoft has the name The Seeing AI. The ultra-advanced app is a talking camera that reads and narrates things coming into the users’ immediate vicinity or contact. For instance, it can narrate written text and recognize things and human beings.
Let us see first what Artificial Intelligence (AI) is actually.
What is the Seeing AI
AI is a computer and technology-based system, which can perform tasks that need human intelligence. This system can perform decision-making, speech and face recognition, and translation of languages, etc.
In Australia alone, the number of blind people is almost 350,000. Blindness, whether totally or partially, is a serious handicap for this huge number of people and their families also. The Seeing AI is a tremendous, and largely a revolutionary app, which has lessened the difficulties of visually impaired people.
Design & Functionality of The Seeing AI App
The smartphone-based Seeing AI app, released last year by Microsoft, uses a computerized narrator. It is a combination of a smartphone and Artificial Intelligence vision technology. It helps kids do their homework and assists anyone who is visually handicapped.
Dave Heiner, who works with Microsoft, told HuffPost Australia that the development of The Seeing AI was at a hackathon held last year. Some people present there took up the task and the app came into being. He said that ‘participants hacked things together to create a magical thing for helping blind people. If you hold your smartphone up front before a person around, The Seeing AI can tell you his/her age, complexion, appearance, hair color, and mood, etc.”
With the aid of The Seeing AI, shopping and grocery have become very easy. Just point the smartphone to a product and it will tell you the price and other specifications by reading the barcode. It is greatly helpful in walking on the road and places like an airport. It tells you what traffic signs say and helps the user in navigating through the place.”
He said that the app is no less than a revolutionary one for totally or partially blind people.
Features of The Seeing AI
Let us talk about in detail some of its key features:
· Currency recognition:
The Seeing AI app can recognize currencies like US Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Euro, and British Pound.
· Color recognition:
The Seeing AI app can recognize colors around the scenery like in a park or road. It can also recognize clothes, paper, and other objects.
· Light and LED detectors:
It alerts you with music if you are in a close contact with a light bulb or LED when it is on and hot. Thus, it saves the users from any possible burns, injury, or electrocution.
· Text, document, and handwriting recognition:
The app can also recognize simple text and documents with formatting and headlines. It will tell you which style, and format of the writing. The users of the app can also recognize handwritten text.
· Identifying persons around:
With its facial recognition feature, users can recognize people around whether they are friends or else. Now you can easily differentiate friends, family member, and outsiders.
· Product identification:
With this app in mobile phone, users can easily do shopping at a store. The barcode recognition feature helps them know the price as well as other features of a particular product. When put before the camera, it reads the name of any product and can provide other details when asked.
· Bill payment:
The Seeing AI also helps you with bill payment. It tells you the right numbers on bills when you are to pay in cash.
· Using social media and photo gallery of the smartphone:
This app enables the users to use Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp by identifying the images and logos. Additionally, users can recognize and use photos in email, smartphone, and of other apps.
The Seeing AI app is available in 35 countries all over the world. Only after a few months after its launch, it got approximately 100,000 downloads in the US. Blind people are no more blind or handicapped. They can perform their everyday tasks with relative ease and without being dependent on others. The Seeing AI app has the ability to narrate the world around these people in words. They cannot see, but with the assistance of camera and audio narration, they can know the things around them. They can understand the things in surroundings in a better way.
Blind and low vision people are very happy about this technological advancement. They have much more ease and freedom in lives than before. Now they are free of carrying old helping items like a white stick. The Seeing AI is no less than a blessing for such people. A new ray of hope has come to the partially or totally blind people with The Seeing AI. Now they can go outside without hesitation, as the app is there to take care of everything. It can make blind people a more productive part of the society. They can do many of the things that were impossible without the help of others.
Mobile and smartphone technology has come a long way. They must be thankful to Microsoft and the app developers for the tremendous amount of comfort brought into their lives. Earlier, blind people were special, but this app has enabled them to overcome their weakness. The key features of recognizing things and getting knowledge about their surroundings have brought a new shift in visually impaired people.
This app is creating such an impact that only a few days ago, it received the GLOMO Awards (Global Mobile Award). It received a nomination for the “Best Use of Mobile for Accessibility & Inclusion” category.
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