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Haleon, Microsoft partner on AI for blind, vision-impaired individuals

Seeing AI is a free mobile app designed to narrate product labels for individuals who have trouble with their vision.
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Haleon and Microsoft are collaborating to make everyday health more accessible for people who are blind, have low vision or have difficulty with reading the labels of products due to low literacy. Together, the companies have expanded functionality in the Microsoft Seeing AI app to provide more detailed labeling information for consumers for more than 1,500 Haleon products across the United States and the United Kingdom.        

With the launch timed to honor World Sight Day, people can now hear packaging information through the Microsoft Seeing AI app by scanning the barcode of Haleon products. This will provide an audio read-out of important information such as name, ingredients and usage instructions.

Haleon’s inaugural Health Inclusivity Index, which sets a new global standard for measuring health inclusivity, makes clear that to improve health inclusivity, individuals and communities need to be provided with the power and the tools to truly take their health into their own hands. The Seeing AI collaboration with Microsoft is one of the company’s first new initiatives to champion health inclusivity.

[Read more: CVS Pharmacy takes Spoken Rx labels nationwide]

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The Seeing AI app, developed by a team of Microsoft engineers is spearheaded by project lead and engineering manager Saqib Shaikh, who lost his sight at age 7 years old and was driven to develop the app by his passion for using technology to improve people’s lives.

“I'm really excited to see the launch of this enhanced product recognition functionality, developed in collaboration with Haleon," Shaikh said. "Seeing AI's intelligent barcode scanner plays audio cues to help you find the barcode, and now the information displayed for Haleon products is coming straight from the manufacturer, providing richer information including usage instructions and ingredients. This can be invaluable for someone who cannot read the label, leading to greater independence.”

“We believe everyone should have access to self-care products, services and the information they need to make informed, proactive choices about their health needs," said Katie Williams, U.S. chief marketing officer at Haleon. "Haleon initiated this collaboration with Microsoft via their Seeing AI app to make consumer health more accessible, achievable and inclusive. We are proud to help make better everyday health more in reach for the blind and those with low vision.”

[Read more: Walmart, Sam’s Club expand En-Vision America’s ScripTalk labels]

The Microsoft Seeing AI app is free to download from the Apple App Store and will be available on Android in the future. To use Seeing AI on Haleon’s products, the user should hold their phone camera over the existing barcode on the packaging. The app will read out the product name and all text on the packet. 

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