Microsoft’s new iPhone app narrates the world for blind people

  The app works in a number of scenarios. As well as recognizing people it’s seen before and guessing strangers’ age and emotion, it can identify household products by scanning barcodes. It also reads and scan documents, and recognizes US currency. This last function is a good example of how useful it can be. As […]

How Blind People ‘See’ the iPhone With Their Fingers

  A few years ago, backstage at a conference, I spotted a blind woman using her phone. The phone was speaking everything her finger touched on the screen, allowing her to tear through her apps. My jaw hit the floor. After years of practice, she had cranked the voice’s speed so high, I couldn’t understand […]

Conversation in the Post-iPhone World

I have seen this resilience during my own research at a device-free summer camp. At a nightly cabin chat, a group of 14-year-old boys spoke about a recent three-day wilderness hike. Not that many years ago, the most exciting aspect of that hike might have been the idea of roughing it or the beauty of […]

Microsoft is turning the iPhone’s camera into a 3D scanner

Microsoft wants the camera on the back of your phone to do more than take 2D photos. A new project from Microsoft’s research lab is turning the average smartphone’s rear camera into a 3D scanner — one that can automatically create 3D models that are supposed to be good enough for printing. In a demo […]