Microsoft's 'Seeing AI' app for the visually impaired comes to the UK and Australia

Called Seeing AI, the app first launched in July 2017 with the goal of tapping the power of artificial intelligence to assist visually impaired people. Essentially, seeing AI works by describing people, objects, and even text, in an effort to "narrate the world around you," Microsoft said at the time.

The interesting thing about Seeing AI is not only that it narrates what it sees, but what it can recognize. The app leverages AI to recognize friends and describe their emotions. With people you don't know, it can describe their gender, estimated age, and what they're wearing. Seeing AI will also recognize and read short text snippets and full documents and read them back to you. Another feature of Seeing AI, appropriately called Scenes, will describe the general scene around you.

That's in addition to smaller capabilities, such as scanning barcodes and the ability to describe images shared from other apps.

The app is still a research project, Microsoft says, but prior to its UK and Australia launch, it was only available in the U.S., Canada, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore. One other limiting factor: Seeing AI is only available on iOS devices for now. Still, if you'd like to give it a try, you can download Seeing AI from the App Store now.

See at the App Store

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl