4.3 Enhancing the lifestyles of people who are blind and visually impaired – Shaun Kemp

Enhancing the lifestyles of people who are blind and visually impaired
Shaun Kemp Marketing Manager UK OrCam Technologies
OrCam’s mission is to harness the power of artificial vision by incorporating pioneering technology into a wearable platform which improves the lives of individuals who are blind, visually impaired, have a reading disability or people with other conditions.
The breakthrough OrCam MyEye device provides is a visual aid through a discreet, wearable platform and easy-to-use interface.
An artificial vision innovator powered by leading minds in the Computer Vision and Machine Learning fields, OrCam’s team includes dedicated software, computer and electrical engineers, hardware design experts, and a passionate customer service team – including sighted, low vision and blind members. Indeed the team has spent years developing the innovative and responsive OrCam MyEye assistive technology device to read any printed or digital text, such as newspapers, documents, and signs, as well as recognise faces and identify shopping products. OrCam’s technology also incorporates helpful gestures such as telling the time and stopping the real-time text reading.
To address an ever-growing number of visually impaired people throughout the world, OrCam is making it their mission to assist in the emotional well-being and independence of those who suffer with visual impairment. OrCam’s revolutionary artificial vision technology is being further developed and their R&D team is working on future models that will make ‘difficult living’ for the blind a thing of the past.
Lateral potential for the OrCam has become more apparent as those who suffer with reading difficulties such as dyslexia are now benefiting from the technology. Challenges with reading text makes learning a lot harder than it should be, but not in the case of a young girl in Jerusalem who featured in the Washington Post who experienced OrCam MyEye. The Washington post noted, “As well as helping those with vision disabilities, MyEye could also assist millions of children to keep pace with their classmates even as they take a bit longer to learn to read or even if they never learn to read”.
This portable device not only offers convenience, but it also gives those who suffer from visual impairment the best opportunity to live a life away from home. Being completely reliant on another adds frustration, but OrCam helps positively alter the definition of a visually impaired lifestyle. However, like any other piece of technology, OrCam does have its limitations and does not enhance sight, but it does provide a level of independence which was previously absent.
A study of usability with the OrCam was conducted with a group of 12 individuals who had various low vision difficulties. Standard daily tasks were presented to all candidates with results indicating a struggle to perform. Following this, candidates were to perform the same tasks but this time they had the OrCam at hand. All 12 candidates could identify products and read text without the use of their low-vision aids
In conclusion, OrCam does not enhance a user’s vision level but it does greatly assist with advanced text-to-speech reading, product and face recognition, and overall provides enhancement of the daily living for those who experience sight loss and blindness. It is believed that OrCam is a unique device currently on the market. The combination of its advanced artificial vision technology and usability paired with its portable capabilities puts it in arguably a premium place for aiding the visually impaired.