Build 2016: Microsoft uses the Seeing AI app to assist the vision-impaired

Michael Cottuli

Microsoft’s mission statement has always been that they want to use technology to empower people. One of the prime examples of this mission statement coming to life was brought on stage today at Build 2016 with the introduction of Saqib Shaikh, a Microsoft employee who is using his talent as a programmer to empower the vision impaired. Saqib lost his sight at the age of 7 and teamed up with other developers with similar goals in order to create the Seeing AI app.

The app, which functions with the Pivothead glasses, is the fruit of Saqib and his team’s hard work. The Seeing AI app, demoed in the above video, allows those who have issues with their vision to use an AI in their smartphone to connect with the camera in their glasses to decipher the world around the user into audio cues. Examples shown in the video include reading the expressions of the people around you (happy, sad, angry, etc.) and being able to read a restaurant menu and have its contents dictated to you.

The new technology was the final announcement of the first keynote of Build 2016, and Saqib received a very enthusiastic round of applause when he stepped on stage. It was an excellent way to finish off the first keynote and showed just how dedicated Microsoft and its employees are to empowering people with technology.