Microsoft today launched a new app called Seeing AI, which the company describes as a talking camera for people who are visually impaired. The app uses artificial intelligence and the camera of an iPhone or iPad to describe the world around it. It's able to recognize text, objects, and people.
The app turns the visual world into an audible experience and using it is as simple as pointing the camera at various objects and people. The app can recognize saved friends, or describe people based on their approximate age and demeanor, and it can read text that it detects aloud.
Seeing AI can scan and read documents like books and letters, helping with formatting, and it can see objects like money to identify specific denominations. Within stores, it can scan barcodes to help users shop, and it's also able to be used within other apps like Twitter for evaluating images.
An experimental "Scenes" feature is available, allowing the app to analyze what's going on in a photograph. Scenes isn't perfect, and Seeing AI is an ongoing research product, so it may not accurately describe every image.
Seeing AI is available in the U.S., Canada, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore starting today, with Microsoft planning to expand it to additional countries in the future. It works on the iPhone 5c and later, but performs best on the iPhone 6s and later.