Shortly after the first Sight Tech Global event, in December last year, Apple and Microsoft announced remarkable new features for mobile phones. Anyone could point the phone camera at a scene and request a “scene description.” In a flash, a cloud-based, computer vision AI determined what was in the scene and a machine-voice read the information. Learning that “a room contains three chairs and a table” might not seem like a big advance for the sighted, but for blind or visually impaired people, the new feature was a notable milestone for accessibility technology: An affordable, portable and nearly universal device could now “see” on behalf of just about anyone.
Technologies like scene description will be on the agenda at the second annual Sight Tech Global event, December 1-2, 2021. The free, sponsor-supported, virtual and global event will convene many of the world’s top technologists, researchers, advocates and founders to discuss how rapid advances in technology, many centered on AI, are altering — both improving and complicating — accessibility for people with sight loss.