Microsoft Has Developed An App That Helps Blind Users Interact with Photos

Microsoft just released new features on its Seeing AI app. The product, which launched in 2016, serves as a “talking camera for the blind.”

The newest addition includes a feature that allows users to touch images on their screens to hear descriptions through the app.

Microsoft hopes the new additions to Seeing AI will help users with everyday tasks like reading menus, signs, and books. The hope is that this will enable the blind and visually impaired to enjoy visual content through artificial intelligence.

“Leveraging on-device facial-recognition technology, the app can even describe the physical appearance of people and predict their mood,” Saqib Shaikh, software engineering manager and project lead for Seeing AI, said in a blog post.

The move comes after other companies like Google and Instagram released features that serve those with hearing and seeing disabilities. Google also recently announced that its AI app Lookout will utilize audio to describe images to blind and visually impaired Pixel phone users. The app was originally announced last year.

Google said the technology will “not always be 100 percent perfect,” and it encourages users to send feedback.

Apps are working to become more inclusive of people with different disabilities and increasing their use of artificial intelligence to do so.

In November, Instagram announced it would begin adding AI features that describe images to blind and seeing-impaired users.

Seeing AI was originally scheduled to launch in 2017 but is now available on iOS.