Microsoft has launched the Turkish version of its Seeing AI app to help make life more accessible for people with visual impairment in Turkey.
Seeing AI, which can be downloaded free of charge by iOS users, draws on AI-powered image recognition and description technology to enable those with visual impairment to recognise all the visual elements in their surroundings via audio narration. It identifies these elements via the user’s smartphone camera and then provides an audio description.
The app can automatically recognise contacts in the user’s phone if there are photos of that person on the phone or if the user has introduced that person to the app beforehand. But it can also estimate the age, sex, race and emotion of people it does not know yet.
Seeing AI offers a wide variety of functions including short text reading, document scanning, product barcode recognition, scene preview, person recognition, color recognition, light detection, and the ability to describe images across all social media apps. Conveniently all these features are combined in a single app.
Seeing AI is breaking down social barriers for those with visual impairment.
Through Seeing AI, purchases can also be handled more easily. Across Turkey, companies such as Boyner, Evyap, Koçtaş, MediaMarkt, Mondelēz International Turkey, P&G Turkey, Unilever Turkey and Watsons Turkey have shared the barcodes of all their products. This makes it simpler for people with visual impairment to shop for their basic needs such as food, home care, beauty and personal care, clothing, building materials, and technology products.
Working together with each different brand, Microsoft Turkey created a data pool that includes details such as color/dimension/size/material/weight and even allergen information and uses this data to regularly update barcodes. These details make it possible for the visually impaired to identify specific products without requiring any assistance from other people.
GS1 Turkey has even gone a step further to help create an integrated product platform through which the visually impaired can shop for a wide variety of products. Meanwhile Turkcell has not only transferred the barcodes of all the products available in its stores to the Seeing AI app, but also made the in-app data use free of charge for Turkcell users. This way, users will not be charged with mobile data rates when they use the Seeing AI app.
The result is that within five months Microsoft Turkey has been able to add a total of six million product barcodes in total to the app.
“Seeing AI is a unique application that proves how much artificial intelligence can contribute to the daily lives of people with disabilities. To make sure you know what you are buying at a supermarket; to safely complete a purchase by scanning Turkish Liras; to be able to detect what is around you on the street are all extremely liberating experiences for a disabled person. With the Seeing AI application, users can now even read the posts shared on WhatsApp and social media platforms or listen to the audio description of the images,” says Microsoft Turkey Deputy General Manager, Murat Yılmaz.