Achieving independence

The Seeing AI app from Microsoft has been made available in the UK for the first time

Person taking a blurry photo

Microsoft has launched a new app in the UK that is designed to offer blind and visually impaired people more independence.

The Seeing AI app uses artificial intelligence (AI) to recognise objects, people and text via a phone or tablet’s camera, and describes them to the user.

The lead developer of Seeing AI at Microsoft’s UK offices, Saqib Shaikh, who is himself visually impaired, said that the company aims to empower people to achieve more.

Mr Shaikh explained: “Since launching Seeing AI, it’s been amazing to see how people with visual impairments have been using the app to increase their independence, and we are excited to bring the app to the UK – my home country.”

“As someone who is visually impaired, this has become a key tool in my daily life, and I look forward to others in the UK benefitting from it too,” he added.

The app recognises text and speaks when it appears in front of the camera. It also offers product information by scanning barcodes, saves peoples’ faces, and gives a description of a captured scene.

The app has now been made available on iOS devices in the UK, Ireland and Australia. It was released in the US, Canada, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore earlier this year.