Estée Lauder has launched a new mobile app with a voice assistant to enable people with impaired vision to apply makeup to their faces. The Voice-Enabled Makeup Assistant (VMA) app combines machine vision and voice AI to guide users through the process so they can get the look they want, even with limited or no eyesight.
Vocal Makeup Artist
The VMA app uses a smartphone camera as a smart mirror, a bit like a more specialized version of HiMirror or Zmirror. The app processes the shape and color of lipstick, foundation, and eyeshadow on the user’s face. The voice AI then lets the user know if the makeup is applied evenly on their face and navigates them to the parts of their face that may have too much or too little coverage so they can redo it. Estée Lauder partnered with visually impaired consumers to develop the app, which is only available on iOS and in the United Kingdom right now but is set to arrive on Android this year and expand geographically later. The expansion will also update the app with more features, including educational tools and options for different looks and how to achieve them.
“We are committed to building innovative technology solutions that make beauty truly inclusive to everyone. We are thrilled to bring the experience of independently applying makeup to the millions of people that are visually impaired,” Estée Lauder chief information officer Michael Smith said. “Technology is a powerful tool to drive inclusion and we are delighted to be first to market with this pioneering app.”
Applying voice AI to accessibility improvements is a popular and still growing trend. That includes tools for the kinds of activities, like applying makeup, that people with sight might not even consider an accessibility issue. For instance, Google Assistant’s new Guided Frame tool helps people who can’t see can take accurate selfies, while Alexa integrated speech recognition startup Voiceitt’s technology so that those with impaired speech can still be understood by the voice assistant.
“As a company, we are deeply committed to playing our part in creating an inclusive beauty industry,” Estée Lauder in the UK and Ireland’s executive director Monica Rastogi said. “The launch of our Voice-Enabled Makeup Assistant is an important step in our journey towards makeup accessibility for all by removing barriers to engaging with beauty products and services.”
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