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Microsoft introduces app for blind people

Microsoft introduces app for blind people
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Christian Boas

Microsoft has introduced “Seeing Al” a new smartphone app, which describes the happenings in the environment for the visually impaired by means of artificial intelligence. The user directs his smartphone camera to a person, item or money notes. The program scans the respective object and describes it in detail.

IOS at the beginning
Microsoft had already presented a prototype of the iOS app in March 2016, but the app has only recently been available for download in the US. A date for the appearance of the Android app has not yet named the software company.

Versatile range of functions
The app has a wide range of functions. It recognizes known persons, can assess the age and feelings of strangers, recognize household products by scanning bar codes, read documents and recognize the US currency.

currency recognition
In the German-speaking world or Europe, the recognition of the money for the blind is not a big problem, because Euro banknotes are different depending on the value, which makes dealing with it relatively easy once you have learned to recognize them and differentiate them. In contrast to the euro, however, the US Dollars always have the same dimensions, regardless of their nominal value, so it is especially the feature of the money recognition for the visually impaired.

Neural networks
The new app uses neural networks to identify and explain the world around itself. A similar technique also uses self-propelled cars or modern reconnaissance drones. The recognition processes should be executed directly in the app, which should make them more reliable. This is particularly useful in the case of a lack of mobile or unstable Internet connection and use in the aircraft. For more complex processes such as describing a complete situation or the recognition of manuscripts, the app necessarily requires a connection to the Internet.

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