Microsoft and Haleon improve health accessibility for the visually impaired

Microsoft and Haleon improve health accessibility for the visually impaired


Partnership will expand Microsoft Seeing AI to provide more detailed labelling information

Elly Yates-Roberts |

Healthcare product company Haleon has partnered with Microsoft to improve accessibility to healthcare for people who are visually impaired or have trouble reading labels. 

The two firms are expanding functionality in the Microsoft Seeing AI application – which uses a device’s camera to provide audible descriptions to users – to provide customers with more detailed labelling information for Haleon products in the USA and UK.

The app will provide an audio read-out of information about Haleon products, including the name, ingredients and usage instructions. Users need only hold their phone camera over the packaging barcode. They can then skip ahead or back to relevant sections.

“I’m really excited to see the launch of this enhanced product recognition functionality, developed in collaboration with Haleon,” said Saqib Shaikh, engineering manager at Microsoft, who led the project after losing his sight at age seven. “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.”

The move aims to empower those with visual impairments and enhance their independence. It builds on Haleon’s 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”. 

“We believe everyone should have access to self-care products, services and the information needed to make informed, proactive choices about their health needs,” said Katie Williams, Haleon’s US chief marketing officer. “Haleon initiated this collaboration with Microsoft via its 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."

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