Microsoft's Seeing AI app for low-vision and blind users comes to Android

The app, which helps people 'see' the world around them, is now available in 18 languages.


Microsoft's Seeing AI app is available on Android devices for the first time starting today. You can download it from the Google Play Store. The aim of the free app is to help blind and low-vision folks understand more of the world around them with the assistance of their smartphone's cameras and AI-powered narration. Microsoft says the Android app uses the company's latest advances in generative AI and it has the same features as the iOS version. Given that there are more than 3 billion Android users around the world, the app could help improve the quality of life of many people.

Seeing AI's latest features were built with the help of feedback from users. Microsoft says the app now offers more detailed descriptions of images. By default, Seeing AI will provide a brief summary of what a photo depicts. When a user taps the "more info" icon, the app will generate a far more in-depth description of the image. Move your finger over the screen and the app can tell you about the locations of various objects. Photos can be imported from other apps too.

Another feature Microsoft recently rolled out following feedback from users is the ability to ask questions about a document. After scanning a document, you can ask Seeing AI questions about things such as menu items or the price of an item on a bill. You can also ask it to summarize an article you have scanned. The app provides the user with audio guidance on how to scan a printed page.

Seeing AI offers users many other ways to find out about the world around them by pointing their camera at or taking a photo of something. For instance, the app will read out a short piece of text as soon as the camera picks it up. Seeing AI can scan barcodes and provide product information such as the name and details from packaging when available, which could be particularly useful when it comes to dealing with medication.

In addition, the app can help identify people (and their facial expressions), currency, colors and brightness. It's also able to read handwritten text in some languages.

Seeing AI is landing on Android on the International Day of People with Disabilities. The app is now available in 18 languages: Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian Bokmal, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish. Microsoft plans to expand that number to 36 languages in 2024.