December 2017:

Contributed by Robert Jaquiss
Editor of Independence Science Newsletter

SeeingAI is a free artificial intelligence app by the Microsoft corporation that just updated to offer some amazing new features. The app contains a “Short Text” channel that doesn’t require a picture. This is great for printed signs and menus. There is a “Document” app that functions much like KNFB Reader to take pictures of a longer document with some processing time. A “product” channel that will beep more frequently when getting closer to a bar code, then automatically takes a picture. This will automatically announce the product, then if the “more information” tab is selected nutritional and cooking instructions are read. A “person” channel that attempts to identify a person’s approximate age and gender as well as gives the option to input information to identify a specific person like Orcam (at its current state Independence Science does not suggest that these two features should be relied upon). A new “currency” reader, a “scene” channel that when a picture is taken will give an approximate guess on surroundings such as “man on a bed using a laptop” which is still in beta form and should only be used to learn more about a scene or picture not solid identification. It has a “color” channel that based on the lighting will help you identify colors of objects such as clothing. Remember in certain lighting conditions may change a readout such as white may read as yellow in bright light or gray in dark so we suggest using a known control such as your cane to identify for sure for your conditions. The most revolutionary thing on there is a “handwriting” channel that is currently in beta and appears to recognize about 50% of print (not cursive) handwriting in its current form but as far as we know this is the first app that does this. Lastly there is a musical “light” sensor with higher pitches for brighter lights. This app is entirely self voiced so having VoiceOver on is not required. This revolutionary app is currently only available on Apple products.