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AI app learns as it provides a window to the world

An image recognition app that identifies objects and colours for blind and visually impaired people through AI (artificial intelligence) technology can ‘learn’ about its surroundings as users teach it.

The free version of the Aipoly Vision app comes pre-loaded with information and is able to identify around 1,000 ‘essential’ items (such as coffee cups, headphones and flowers) immediately after being downloaded.

Users simply point their phone at an item and Aipoly then speaks the name of the item out loud. The app was designed to help users with sight loss or low vision identify more of the world around them without the assistance of a sighted person.

Aipoly runs and identifies constantly without an internet connection, and users don’t need to take photos of individual items in order for the app to recognise them. Aipoly’s developers claim that it can identify items at a rate of three per second.

Users can switch between different modes to recognise different groups of things, such as foods, text, currency, plants and colours. The Aipoly recognition system works through what the company calls a “real-time deep learning SDK” (software development kit).

A paid-for version of the app, costing $4.99 per month, features a much larger pre-installed database of objects. But users can also help build Aipoly’s database manually, by inputting descriptions of new objects or objects that the app identifies incorrectly.

These descriptions are stored on the app for future recognition – to help the individual user – but also get uploaded to the Aipoly servers. This information is then used by Aipoly’s development team when updating the app, therefore benefitting other users too.

So far, reviews and feedback have generally been positive, with users (including blind and visually impaired users) impressed by the app’s ease of use and wide recognition abilities. However, many also report at least some errors when the app is identifying objects.

Aiploy Vision is currently only available for the iPhone and iPad, via the iTunes app store, but a version for Android devices is scheduled for April 15. In January, the app was given a ‘2017 Innovation Award’ by the Consumer Technology Association at its annual CES (Consumer Electronics Show) event.

Read more at the Aipoly website:
http://eab.li/53 .

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