Last year, software engineer Saqib Shaikh was featured at the Microsoft Build conference for work on an app called “SeeingAI” which helps the visually impaired better see the world around them. The technology is built upon Microsoft Intelligence APIs which translates real-world events into audio messages.
Mr. Shaikh knows this world intimately for he has been blind since the age of seven. “I love making things that improves people’s lives and one of the things I’ve always dreamt of since I was at university was this idea of something that could tell you at any moment what’s going on around you,” said the engineer in a video presentation. “Years ago this was science fiction. I never thought it would be something that you could actually do but artificial intelligence is improving at an ever-faster rate and I’m really excited to see where we can take it. As engineers we are always standing on the shoulders of giants and building on top of what went before. For me it’s about taking that far-off dream and building it one step at a time.”
In the demonstration video, Mr. Shaikh takes a photo of a particular scene with his smart-glasses and the app is able to describe the setting back to him – from business meetings to skateboarders. In another scene, the App takes a photo of a menu and translates the text into audio.
Be sure to watch the accompanying video – you will be inspired!