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    Visually-impaired Microsoft employee creates app that can helps the blind ‘see’

    By Sanjana Ray|24th May 2016
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    Technology coupled with the Internet of Things is a wonderful thing. Today we are able to know minute details about the world through a touch on our smartphones or tap on our tablets. We can interact with those sitting across the world with just as little as a swipe and now with the advent of virtual reality, there’s really no stopping us.

    But what if we told you that we’ve come close to achieving the impossible with technology? What if we told you that technology can now help the blind see?

    Microsoft employee Saqib Shaikh has recently created an app that can allow the visually impaired to navigate in the world. Shaikh, who has been visually impaired since the age of seven, has worked in Microsoft for the past 10 years, in their London office. His app Seeing AI began as a research project, in which he used intelligence APIs (Application Programming Interface) from Microsoft Cognitive Services.

    Seeing AI works on both smartphones as well as smart glasses from Pivothead. The primary characteristic of this app is that it can ‘see’ people and objects around the person in question and then translate what it sees to them via an audio message. According to sources, the app can tell its user the age, gender and even emotional state of the people around him or her.

    The idea for the app originated in an annual Microsoft event, //oneweek Hackathon, where employees work together and try to make ‘wild ideas a reality’, according to Daniel Hubbell, a Microsoft employee.

    Although the app is still in its development phase and is not currently available in the market, there is a tremendous amount of revenue and initiative that is being employed into its implementation. Microsoft hopes to launch the app soon.

    According to Windows Central, the smartphone version of the app can even take a picture of a paper, like a menu card, and translate via audio what’s written on it, to the person using it.

    So here’s heralding a brand new era with new possibilities, thanks to the wonders of fast-growing technology. 

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