“PeopleLens,” Microsoft’s Newest AI Technology, is Helping Blind People See

May 4, 2022
3 min read

For visually impaired children, social interaction has always been a barrier because of their inability to spot the real-time gestures made by the speakers in conversations. With experience over the years, blind children are able to develop better communication and social skills.

What if there was a way to instill confidence and increase social communication among the visually impaired kids? What if there was a technology that would enable them to converse with peers in a better manner, giving them a better sense of the gestures made by the speakers?

The advanced implications of AI have enabled this dream technology to be a reality as Microsoft unveiled its new device called “PeopleLens,” which makes the lives of blind children a lot easier and socially active.

What is PeopleLens? How Was It Developed?

PeopleLens is an advanced AI device that allows children with low vision or vision impairments to interact and socialize among groups. The technology was developed by the leading giant Microsoft and is aimed to bring out a revolution in how the visually impaired perceive and interact with the people around them.

The researchers combined studies from psychology and language and speech therapy and monitored the paralympic participants, closely observing how they were able to connect with their peers. This led to the formulation of this gadget that uses People Map and enables the children with less vision to locate and track the voices of people in their surroundings.

How Does It Work?

The technology works through an augmented reality system and complex machine learning algorithms that send identification and judgment signals. The people must register themselves by clicking pictures at certain angles through the phone connected to this AR device. The pictures are then converted into a series of vectors that are placed over a virtual map or mental map. This allows the child to get an idea of the position and distance of the people he/she is interacting with.

The images of people sitting or interacting with the wearer are taken into account and analyzed by AI algorithms. The different cameras allow the machine to process the images and detect the pose and orientation of the speaker.

The users are able to sense the position of the speaker using an actual 3D map which keeps on reconfiguring in real-time with movements and changes in the gaze of the speaker. The data or the names of the people talking are then read aloud in a spatialized audio, giving the child the exact sense of distance and the relative position of their peers.

Benefits of PeopleLens

As complex as the working sounds, the benefits of this new technology are immense.

· This has enabled the children with visual impairment to lead a better life by enabling them to see.

· The social interaction of such children is bound to improve, and the wearers can understand their peers in a better way when they are using PeopleLens.

· The children using this device also get notified of other objects like chairs or tables, apart from recognizing the people sitting in space.

· The company aims to bring about a change in the way people with less vision interact with their peers, giving them a better idea of who is talking to them, who is gazing in their direction, whose heads are turned away and so on.

· The teachers and parents can also communicate better and foster better relationships with this tech at hand.

Conclusion

The possibilities with this thoughtful technology are endless as this technology can be modified to serve a lot many industries and sectors. This has opened up a world of opportunities for visually impaired children who struggle with their everyday lives.

Microsoft has certainly taken a commendable step in this direction by opening doors for more features and allowing children with less vision to feel more connected and empowered. With the leading giant innovating in this area, we can expect to see more companies sinking their feet in these waters and putting technology to a good cause.