The Story Behind Microsoft Seeing AI


In a recent episode of the Double Tap podcast, Saqib Shaikh, the man behind Microsoft’s groundbreaking app, Seeing AI, shared his story of innovation and passion for accessibility. Hosts Steven Scott and Shaun Preece delved into the origins of Seeing AI, its evolution, and what the future holds for this life-changing technology.

Saqib recounted how Seeing AI began as a personal project during a Microsoft hackathon. With the encouragement of CEO Satya Nadella, employees were urged to pursue their passions. For Saqib, this meant combining his expertise in artificial intelligence with his commitment to accessibility. The result was the early prototype of Seeing AI, an app designed to assist visually impaired individuals by describing the world around them.

One of the keys to Seeing AI’s success is its user-centric approach. Saqib emphasized the importance of working with the visually impaired community to tailor the app to their needs. By maintaining a dialogue with users and incorporating the latest research, the Seeing AI team ensures that the app remains responsive, intuitive, and genuinely helpful.

Saqib discussed the transformative effect of generative AI on Seeing AI’s capabilities. With advancements in AI technology, the app can now provide richer image descriptions and answer specific questions about documents, enhancing productivity and accessibility for users.

A major development recently for Seeing AI is its expansion to the Android platform. Saqib explained that the decision to start with iPhone was based on the user base at the time, but as the app matured, the goal shifted to reaching as many people as possible. With Android’s extensive global user base, Seeing AI can now empower more individuals worldwide.

The expansion isn’t just about platforms; it’s also about languages. Supporting 18 languages and aiming to double that number, Seeing AI is striving to be accessible to users regardless of their native tongue. This commitment to inclusivity is a hallmark of the app’s development philosophy.

Looking ahead, Saqib hinted at exciting advancements on the horizon, driven by the latest AI breakthroughs and ongoing community collaboration. While the details of future features were kept under wraps, the anticipation for what’s to come was palpable.

For more information and to download the app, visit

Share this article: