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Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Use the OrCam to Identify Objects, Read Print and More!

The following article comes from Hannah Ziring of OrCam Technologies. I have read about this device, viewed YouTube videos about it, and saw it in action very briefly at one of the summer conventions. You may find the device quite useful for the reasons listed in the article.
Glasses for a Person Who is Blind
The OrCam device is a smart camera that sits on the user’s glasses and reads text aloud to people who are visually impaired or blind.
While the OrCam device is not exactly “
glasses for blind person
”, it definitely looks that way. The device is so small and discreet, it is barely noticeable.
Besides its compact size, there are many amazing OrCam features that make the device unique and accessible.
Easy to use: OrCam MyEye is an intuitive wearable device with a smart camera that clips onto a regular pair of glasses and is able to 'read' text and convert it into speech relaying the message to the user. The device is activated by a simple intuitive gesture – pointing your finger or pressing a single button.
Using OCR - optical character reading - technology, the device can read printed materials on almost any surface such as newspapers, books, computer screens, menus and more.
Portable: Many people who are visually impaired or blind have to carry around a heavy magnifying glass to read text. The OrCam MyEye is small and light and simply attaches to the right side of the user’s glasses frame. The camera weighs ¾ of an ounce and has a thin wire, easily hidden behind the ear, which connects to the base unit or “brain” of the device. The base unit is about the size of a cellphone and can easily sit in one’s pocket or on a belt strap.
Wearable: “You are what you wear.” Wearable technologies have grown tremendously in the past few years. Smart electronic devices that can be worn on the body are practical and discreet. The OrCam is no exception. the device is so discreet that it can barely be seen by others allowing the user to fit in with the crowd.
Privacy: Unlike other OCR technologies, the OrCam does not require a scanner connected to a computer or internet connection. All the information stored in the device is private and only accessible to the user.
Independence: For people who are visually impaired or blind and have conditions that cannot be corrected by glasses or surgery, the OrCam MyEye can be life-changing. Who would have thought that this little camera situated on a pair of glasses could help people who are blind or visually impaired regain their independence.
To contact OrCam, 1350 Broadway, Suite 1600 New York, NY 10018. Phone: 1-800-713-3741 or visit their website where you can request a demo and join their email list.


Dan said...

I've been using the OrCam device for around two months. I find it to work well only in certain conditions. It is very light sensitive. I was at a bar/restaurant where the lighting was a bit low and was unable to read the menu. I've upgraded the lighting in my house and still have to sit in one particular spot in order to even make the unit work. On another note, I find the gesture commands are not very accurate. I've also discovered that the mailing list on the web site is pretty much nonexistent. I've subscribed twice and have gotten no confirmation. Upon contacting the company about this, I discovered the list is not a support list for other users. OrCam is very closed mouth about other users of the product because of privacy concerns. That's all well and good; but I find it odd that I can't contact other users of the product to see if they are experiencing the same issues I am. In addition, it appears that at least some of the sales representatives have almost no idea of what they're selling and are unable to provide necessary training to the customer.
the bottom line is that I'm going to try and get my money back.

Dan said...

On July 31st, I posted a comment here about my dissatisfaction with the OrCam device and its inability to function in different lighting situations.

I have no light perception so I needed to use the light detector app on my phone to determine the best area in which to use the OrCam. Many times, even though I was sitting in the brightest area of my house, I would receive the message that I needed to be in a more brightly lit area. Also, when I was out, I found myself in situations where the lighting wasn’t bright enough to use it.

This was really my biggest problem with the OrCam, and I’m happy to say the issue has been resolved in a very timely and satisfactory manner. When Sage Vision Technologies, the company from which I purchased the unit, found out about all this they went looking for a solution. My local sales rep brought me this really cool pair of glasses with lights built in which can be switched on and off as needed. They’re called vision specs. I would highly recommend them for people with little or no light perception.

My other concern was the pointing gestures; but it’s my understanding that a new version of the OrCam software is coming out soon which will change reading functionality.

There are some changes I would like to see in the actual unit. With the low cost of technology, I would like to see Bluetooth used instead of the wired connection from the glasses to the camera. I think it would look a lot less geeky. I would also like to see the lighting issue addressed.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. ��(smile)

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