Microsoft Seeing AI vs. Be My Eyes | Low Vision Apps

Today we’re making lunch with the help
of two free iPhone applications and to make things interesting we’re gonna do it blindfolded. This is Power On. The kitchen. For a lot of people with
limited vision, the kitchen may seem like a place you’d want to avoid. But today, we’re gonna use a couple of iPhone apps to see if they can help. First, we have “Seeing AI”, a free app released by Microsoft this summer you can download it from the iPhone App Store It uses Microsoft’s AI technology to help
identify text, products, scenery, or even faces [Seeing AI] A 31-year-old man with brown hair and a mustache looking neutral. It’ll be going up against “Be My
Eyes”, an app that was developed in Denmark. This program initiates video
chats between users with limited vision, and sighted volunteers. It can also be
found in the App Store free of charge. So, we’re here with Jeshua and Bree. Jeshua will be using Be My Eyes. Bree will have Seeing AI. Since they have different
degrees of visual impairment, We decided to make it fair, and blindfold them both. They each have a box of simple ingredients and a hand-written lunch recipe for a ham and cheese sandwich. So, here we go. In three, two, one… Go! And they’re off, each one digging their ingredients out of the box. Bree has the recipe in her hand. Let’s see if Seeing AI can help. [Seeing AI] Sandwich, Jack on, and sandwich, jack on side Let’s check in with Jeshua. He’s using the Be My Eyes app. It looks like he’s trying to connect with someone [Jeshua] Come on… [Volunteer] Hi! [Jeshua] Hi! I was wondering if you would be able to help me read this paper for me? [Volunteer] Yeah, of course! It says “Ham Sandwich, honey ham, Monterey jack cheese, mustard, mayo, and pretzels on the side.” [Seeing AI] *incoherent nonsense* since Bree could be here all day,
we’ll help her out and tell her the recipe instead. Jeshua now, working to
get his ingredients identified [Volunteer] It’s just Mylanta, it’s an antacid [Jeshua] Ah, okay It looks like he’s successfully avoided the extra
strength my Mylanta [Jeshua] Yeah, don’t want to eat that! Bree’s making a move for the bread. No
Seeing AI needed for that. There’s only one loaf. [Be My Eyes Volunteer] Hold it to the left a little bit please… ah, Swiss cheese. Okay, Bree’s getting her ingredients
identified now. She’s gonna start with the product feature. Which allows you to scan the barcode on products. [Seeing AI] Processing… [Seeing AI] Not recognized It looks like the app is having trouble
identifying the mustard She’s gonna switch back to the text feature [Seeing AI] Heinz Yellow Mustard There we go! Jeshua now has all of his ingredients identified He’s gonna put the phone down, he’s got it the rest of the way Okay, Bree now, she’s got the ham let’s see if she can get the cheese.. [Seeing AI] Pepper Jack No problem! Jeshua, getting the mustard on there. Bree, now not far behind, having a tough time finding the Cheetos Jeshua’s got the sandwich done and
plated! Jeshua is done! It’s “Be My Eyes!” just ahead of Bree with Seeing AI. [Seeing AI] Cheetahs crunchy
flavor cheese snacks These are two very new applications. Be My Eyes is fairly straightforward in terms of what it can do There are currently 550,000 sighted volunteers registered for the app and that’s for just 38,000 users with visual impairments. So the app should have no problem connecting you to a volunteer. although, occasionally we had
callers with loud background noise or poor audio. Microsoft’s Seeing AI app can
be a great solution for simple household tasks, like identifying items in the
refrigerator or the medicine cabinet. For Microsoft, Seeing AI is just a small part of their artificial intelligence research The app has advanced features
still in beta testing like “Scene” which can try to describe the entire scene for you [Seeing AI] Processing… [Seeing AI] Probably a person sitting on a
motorcycle. [Tyler] A motorcycle!? In a way, it feels like Microsoft is just showing off the progress of its AI technology. While the technology is impressive, in terms of practical use for the visually impaired, its not quite ready. For links to both of these apps check the description below Both of these products are
available only on iPhone right now, but you should expect them on Android phones sometime in the near future. For The CIL, I’m Rafael Siegel and we’ll see you next time on Power On


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