Seeing AI – new free app for blind users

Mark and Carrie discuss ‘Seeing AI’, a really useful app that will read out text that you hover your smartphone camera over.


The “Seeing AI” app is a new and free app designed for blind users, aimed at providing assistance for people with sight loss and other disabilities. Developed by Microsoft, the app is currently available for Apple products running on iOS.

The app offers several useful features, with one of the main highlights being the “live text” mode. In this mode, users can use their phone’s camera to scan and read text in real-time. It proves handy for tasks like reading product labels in the kitchen or identifying mail recipients. An added advantage is that it functions without requiring an internet connection, making it useful even in remote or offline situations.

The app also includes a “document mode,” which operates similarly to the knfb reader. Users can take pictures of documents, such as leaflets or A4 papers, and the app instantly converts the text into speech, reading out the content. The process is automated, eliminating the need to press a button to capture the image.

“Seeing AI” also integrates a barcode scanner, allowing users to scan product barcodes to get information about the product. Although not every product is currently in the app’s database, it proves to be a helpful tool while shopping in places like Tesco, Sainsbury’s, or ASDA.

Additionally, the app features “person recognition,” where users can take a photo of someone in front of them, and the app will describe the person’s appearance, including hair colour, facial expression, and an estimate of their age. It also allows users to create a facial recognition memory by taking three photos of a person and naming them. The app can then identify these individuals when they are within a certain range.

Furthermore, the app has a “seeing recognition” mode that is still in beta testing. This mode allows users to take a photo of a room and receive a description of the surroundings. Although it is a work in progress, it shows promising results in recognising objects and scenes.

Overall, “Seeing AI” by Microsoft offers a range of useful features for individuals with visual impairments. The app’s continuous improvements and potential applications have generated excitement, and tutorials on its various functionalities are planned for the future.

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