The first-day keynote at Microsoft’s BUILD conference just ended with a video demonstrating some of the capabilities of its new cognitive services suite, which software engineers can use to build intelligence into their apps. And it couldn’t have been much more inspiring: It featured Saqib Shiekh, a blind developer who’s created an assistive-technology app that operates using Pivothead smart glasses.
Leveraging cameras, speech synthesis, and Microsoft’s image-recognition services, the app can see things and helpfully tell a blind user about them–like a young male skateboarder doing a trick, or a little girl playing in the park, or coworkers listening attentively. It can also perform feats such as intelligently reading menus.
It’s always dangerous to assume that a new technology works as well in the real world as it does in a heartwarming conference video. But even if this stuff isn’t perfect yet, it looks magical.