Seeing AI, The App That Could Explain Blind People The World Around Them

Remember the How Old Do You Look app? It went viral on Facebook, although many times it gave wrong answers. Well, Project Oxford, the machine learning tools used by Microsoft to build the app, were rebranded Cognitive Services and have already helped one man build his dream: an app that could translate the world for blind people.

Saqib Shaikh is building Seeing AI, an app for smartphones and smartglasses, with API’s from the suite Cognitive Services. #eyemagic #machinemagic

He lost his sight at age 7 and couldn’t imagine that one day things would be different; but he encountered talking computers at a special school and didn’t look back since. Ten years ago, Saqib got a job as software engineer at Microsoft and waited for the moment he could make the world accessible to him and other visually impaired people.

Now, with the help of his team, he can use APIs to create a simple app that recognizes text via mobile cameras and read it out loud for him, as well as smartglasses that describe people around him, their age, gender and emotions.

At the Build Microsoft event for developers, the company stated that there are 22 APIs available in the Cognitive Services suite, including  Face API and Speech API preview.

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