Microsoft's new iPhone app helps the blind see

Microsoft launches iPhone app that narrates the world for blind people

The app will respond in various ways depending on what the camera is seeing, such as identifying the faces of people you're out with, telling you about how old someone is, what their emotion appears to be, and more. Pointing it at a product's bar code will have the app describing what it is, and even provide additional information about how to use it. Otherwise, all you have to do to start identifying things is select from one of five different categories (the app calls them "channels") to help the app understand what type of object it needs to identify. It's now available in the U.S., Canada, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore, but Microsoft says it is coming soon to other countries.

Read text quickly. Hear short amounts of text instantly and get audio guidance to capture full documents. Most others are aimed at a single task, like identifying a color or reading text aloud.

The app relies on the iPhone camera, backed by Microsoft's machine learning and image recognition algorithms.

The app can be used in conjunction with social media apps, such as Facebook, to describe images.

This feature will be useful for United States currency, as all USA dollar bills are the same size and hard to identify for the visually impaired.

The app will soon have a feature that identifies currency bills. The first experimental feature is scene descriptions.

For example, it was able to identify a woman playing with a frisbee in a park, saying 'I think it's a young girl, throwing a frisbee in the park'.

Microsoft is putting its artificial intelligence technology to work to help the visually impaired.

According to The Verge, the app operates using neural networks - a computer system modeled on the human brain and nervous system. Most recently it added support for Apple's MacBook Pro Touch Bar in Office apps.

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