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Microsoft launches amazing AI-powered iPhone app that narrates the world to blind people [Video]

Arthur C Clarke once said that any sufficiently advanced technology was indistinguishable from magic, and Microsoft’s Seeing AI app gets pretty close to qualifying. It’s an app designed to ‘narrate the world’ to people who are blind or visually impaired, and the video demo (below) shows off some incredibly impressive capabilities.

It can, for example, recognize friends, guess the emotions of people from their facial expressions, read text, identify bank notes, identify products from their bar-codes, and even recognize images in apps like Twitter …

Turns the visual world into an audible experience. With this intelligent camera app, just hold up your phone and hear information about the world around you.

Recognize friends and their facial expressions. Recognize and locate the faces of people you’re with, as well as facial characteristics, approximate age, emotion, and more.

Read text quickly. Hear short amounts of text instantly and get audio guidance to capture full documents.

While instant optical character reading is nothing new, the app goes further. For example, if you point the camera at a document, it will help you align the camera by telling you any parts of it that aren’t in view.

The free app, which is currently iOS-only, is a free download from the App Store. It’s currently available in the U.S., Canada, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore, but Microsoft says it is coming soon to other countries.

Check out the video below for an overview of its capabilities. Truly inspiring use of technology.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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