Via the always fascinating BoingBoing comes news of a neat new Microsoft Cognitive Services app — one which interprets the visual world and its unique information for users who are visually impaired or are blind.
It’s called Seeing AI, and it integrates into not only your standard smartphone, but into a convenient pair of sunglasses. These the user can tap to take a photo of their surroundings, and the app will do its best to describe what is going on (endearingly starting its statements with “I think it’s…”).
One of the developers of Seeing AI, Saqib Shaikh, is featured in a cool video demonstrating the app’s capabilities — which he knows intimately as builder and as front-line user, as he is also blind. (link to audio-description version of the video here)
Watching Shaikh snap a photo of a restaurant menu and ask the app on his phone to read it to him is one of those moments when I feel like we’re genuinely living in the future! Plus, I think it’s the best use of our amazing technological developments to boost accessibility, and improve the day-to-day lives of all users. For example, where Google Glass was mainly gee-whiz-isn’t-that-cool, Seeing AI’s sunglasses have a distinct and dedicated purpose. That is what makes this innovation one to watch (however you do it!) to me.