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2016 Mobile App Awards have been launched by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the telecom operators. And this time, the theme of these awards is to develop applications for the special people in Pakistan.

As I was browsing the videos on a website, I came across an inspirational video, in which a blind man from London has created an app, based on Artificial Intelligence, to help the visually challenged people survive in the world.

The video tells about a Microsoft developer, who has created an app to help the blind people. Saqib Shaikh, a London-based man who lost his eyesight at the age of seven, created this revolutionary app using Microsoft’s Intelligent Application Programming Interface.

Saqib Shaikh got admission in the school for the visually challenged children. There, computers with Artificial Intelligence were introduced to him, which really opened up his mind.

He always wanted to create something which can improve the lives of the people like him and one thing he always dreamt of doing something that could tell you at any moment what’s going on around you.

He teamed up with like-minded engineers to make an app which lets blind people know who and what is around them. And finally, Saqib successfully developed the app he always dreamt of.

Watch the Video

How the application by Saqib Shaikh is helpful?

Saqib’s app is based on Microsoft API. The app works on a smartphone and PivotHead smart glasses as well.

This application tells almost everything that is around you. The blind person can simply press the button on the app or the PivotHead smartglasses, and it will tell the person about the scene around him, using Artificial Intelligence. Not only this, but the app is also capable of recognizing the expressions and emotions of people.

“When you’re talking to a bigger group, sometimes you can talk and talk, and there’s no response and you think, is everyone listening really well, or are they half asleep, and you never know,” said Saqib Shaikh, in a video released by the Microsoft.

The app tells the age, gender, and expression of every person in a group.

Saqib Shaikh Microsoft
Saqib Shaikh (L) at Microsoft Build Annual Developers Conference. (Image: Tested)

This software also can read out text using Optical Graphic Recognition (OCR) system. For example, if a blind person is in a restaurant and he wants to know what is on the menu, he can just simply take out his smartphone, and capture the image of the menu, and the app will read out the whole menu, or just the headings, according to the needs. The app also guides how to take a perfect picture of any text.

“Years ago, it was a 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, and I think it is just a beginning,” said Saqib Shaikh.

Well, if a blind person can create such an app to help other blind people, I think a normal person can also create such great apps, and we really do have a great talent in Pakistan. This kind of applications is really needed in Pakistan because more than ten percent of the population in our country is disabled.

I hope that developers in Pakistan can come up with ideas like Saqib Shaikh, who has already proven that nothing is impossible even if you are disabled.


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