Consumer health company Haleon has partnered with US-based technology giant Microsoft to improve health product shopping for blind or partially sighted people through the use of AI.

The companies are expanding the functionality of Microsoft’s Seeing AI app to help advance inclusivity and improve accessibility.

Developed by a team of Microsoft engineers, the app is intended to help people with difficulty in seeing by narrating the environment around them.

By scanning the barcodes of Haleon products, people can listen to important information such as product names, ingredients and instructions on the packaging.

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Through this partnership, customers across the US and UK will be able to hear detailed labelling information for more than 1,500 Haleon products, including Sensodyne, Centrum, Emergen-C, ChapStick and Aquafresh.

Haleon said that the collaboration with Microsoft is its first new initiative to promote health inclusivity.

Haleon US chief marketing officer Katie Williams said: “We believe everyone should have access to self-care products, services and the information needed to make informed, proactive choices about their health needs.

“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.”

Microsoft’s Seeing AI app is currently available only on Apple’s App Store, with Microsoft and Apple planning to expand it to Android users in the future.

The partners also plan to expand the Haleon barcode functionality worldwide and add more languages.

Microsoft engineering manager Saqib 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.”