Advances in optical character recognition (OCR), object recognition, artificial intelligence and computer vision has resulted in remarkable, new products to aid individuals with visual impairments. One such new device, the OrCam, provides a variety of features allowing OCR and recognition of print and environmental text, product recognition, money recognition as well as facial recognition. Once recognition is completed, the processor speaks the information aloud using its small speaker located in the device which attaches to the temple of a glasses frame. It’s ease of use, fast processing and accuracy makes this device a functional, electronic scanning/recognition device for many tasks and environments.
The OrCam is a small camera that mounts to the frame of glasses. Hardwired connection to a handheld processor, the camera is able to read text at a distance or close using gestures or with operation of a few buttons on the handheld processor.
OrCam My Eyes functions, as described on OrCam’s website include:
The OrCam comes in two versions, a basic OrCam My Reader that performs OCR and OrCam My Eyes offering OCR with other recognition capabilities (money, products, time, facial recognition).
Trial using the OrCam found good accuracy with reading textbook information, reading environmental print in signs and posters good (with exception of some word art) with good ability to recognize products. As indicated in its features, it requires connection to the small handheld processor but no Internet connection, allowing its use virtually anywhere. The battery is stated to last a day and offers a sleep mode when not in use to conserve battery level. Voice quality is also good, with clear speech and easy to access volume control. Discussion with an OrCam certified trainer indicated that it also works well with clients who have hearing aids.
Here is a YouTube video from the Blind Life with an overview of the OrCam device with MyEyes:
Reviews and trial using the OrCam finds it is a remarkable device offering recognition of text, products, faces and environmental text. It continues to be updated for additional features and improvements with its operation. Trial found it fast, accurate and easy to use following training and application of gestures and understanding the features available. Although created for individuals with vision loss, this might also be a solution for some individuals with dyslexia or other significant reading challenges but good motor and problem solving abilities.
Where can you get the OrCam or a demo? In the Midwest, contact Adaptive Technology Resources , Grafton, WI (ATR; ph.: 800-770-8474), a supplier of the device with certified OrCam trainers. You can also respond or contact me through this blog for more information on the OrCam.
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Carol Leynse Harpold, MS, OTR/L, ATP, CATIS
OT’s with Apps and Technology