Since we first made Seeing AI available, there’s been 100,000 downloads of the app and it has assisted users with over 3 million tasks. We have never been more humbled by your feedback and are encouraged to do more! When we first released this, we launched with features such as the ability to hear what a product is via audibly locating the barcode, describing images, text and faces of friends and family as they come into view. Today, we’re excited to announce new features coming to the app that will build on these early results, provide new user experiences and allow us to continue to learn and innovate. These new features, such as currency, handwriting and color recognition, as well as light detection, are now available in the app in 35 countries, including the European Union.
Some of the new features now available in Seeing AI include:
- Color recognition: Getting dressed in the morning just got easier with this new feature, which describes the color of objects, like garments in your closet.
- Currency recognition: Seeing AI can now recognize the currency of US dollars, Canadian dollars, British Pounds and Euros. Checking how much change is in your pocket or leaving a cash tip at a restaurant is much easier.
- Musical light detector: The app alerts you with a corresponding audible tone when you aim the phone’s camera at light in the environment. A newly convenient tool so you don’t have to touch hot bulbs to know that a light is switched off, or the battery pack’s LED is on.
- Handwriting recognition: Expanding on the ability of the app to read printed text, such as on menus or signs, the newly improved ability to read handwriting means you can read personal notes in a greeting card, as well as printed stylized text not usually readable by optical character recognition.
- Reading documents: Seeing AI can read you the document aloud without voiceover, with synchronized word highlighting. Also, it includes the ability to change the text size on the Document channel.
- Ability to choose voices and speed: Personalization is key, and when you’re not using VoiceOver, this feature lets you choose between the voice that is used and how fast it talks.
With each of these new features, we make sure to protect personal data while ensuring the technology operates effectively and provides users the best experiences with our products. If you have questions, the Microsoft Privacy Statement explains how Microsoft collects, stores and uses personal information.
We continue to hear from you how Seeing AI is bringing value to your life. It’s more than humbling. Cameron Roles, a university lecturer at the Australian National University College of Law, believes there’s never been a better time in history to be a blind person.
“I absolutely love Seeing AI. If my children hand me a note from school or if I pick up a book, I can use Seeing AI to quickly capture that text and just give me a very brief instant overview of what’s on the document,” said Roles of the important capability the app has for reading text and handwriting. “I can quickly be right on top of it.”
“For me, I think we’re coming into a really exciting time,” said Roles. “The growth in artificial intelligence, augmented reality, self-driving cars… I feel that it’s a great time for all of us in society.”
“Technology can be such an enabler of good and such an enabler for people to shrink the world, for the world to come closer together, and for people to be able to achieve so much more than they ever could without it,” said Roles.
We’re excited to share these features and look forward to hearing from you who Seeing AI is making your world more inclusive. Its available in Apple’s App Store in 35 countries and when a new version is released, you will be shown the list of new features when you next launch the app.
Please if you have feedback, we want to hear it! This started as a prototype just a year ago, and while we’ve been thrilled with the progress, we know we have a long way to go. Please send your thoughts, feedback or questions to [email protected].
If you have further questions or feedback, please contact the Disability Answer Desk. The Disability Answer Desk is there to assist via phone and chat, and in the United States, we also have an ASL option for our customers with hearing loss (+1 503-427-1234).