Microsoft Launches AI-Based Talking Camera for the Visually Impaired

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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.

Seeing AI can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Top Rated Comments

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43 months ago
This is cool. Technology being used to make a persons life better, more productive, that’s the dream and goal. Bravo Microsoft for attempting this, knowing this is the first of many long steps.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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43 months ago

seems like they're releasing all of this tech before the iphone 8 just so that they can say they did something first (incase the iphone does something similar)

Microsoft has been working on this for a very long time. They showed it at e3 this year. I think this is more about making the lives of blind people easier, not to be the first.

This software is severely limited by current battery tech.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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43 months ago
I believe I read somewhere that two of Satya's children have disabilities. Could explain why Microsoft is pushing accessibility so hard (everyone should be in my opinion). Good for Microsoft.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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43 months ago

I believe I read somewhere that two of Satya's children have disabilities. Could explain why Microsoft is pushing accessibility so hard (everyone should be in my opinion). Good for Microsoft.

The guy they had at e3, who said he was leading the project, was blind. I thought it was pretty darn awesome too!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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