Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Israel based start-up develops device that helps blind to read

Published:Sunday | January 22, 2017 | 1:00 AMPaul H. Williams
Eliav Rodman, OrCam’s director of marketing, listening to the vision device MyEye at OrCam’s headquarters in Jerusalem, Israel, recently.

Jerusalem:

An Israel-based start-up is helping blind and visually impaired people to read. Established in 2015, Jerusalem-based OrCam, has developed a device, which they call MyEye.

MyEye is a portable, artificial vision device that responds to simple gestures. The device consists of two main components: the head unit and the base unit.

The head unit consists of a camera and a microphone and is attached to the frame of a pair of eyeglasses. This unit is connected to the base unit by a cable. The base unit contains the processor - the brain. It can be clipped to a belt or placed into a pocket.

The camera sends images and movements to the processor, which speaks to the user via a bone-conduction earpiece. With a movement from the user's finger, the device immediately responds and will determine whether it needs to read, find an item, or recognise a product, depending on the environment.

 

Reads text recognises objects

 

It reads printed text, such as books, newspapers, food labels, restaurant menus, and street signs, and most digital text on a television or computer.

MyEye recognises previously entered consumer products, money notes, and credit cards and also identifies faces of individuals who were previously photographed with the device's camera. It matches the faces of people with their names, which the device announces when approaching a person whose image is stored in its memory.

This multiple-language reader was developed by OrCam Technologies Limited, founded in 2010 by its current chief technical officer and chairman of the board, Professor Amnon Shashua, and current president and CEO, Ziv Aviram. It was released as a prototype in September 2013 and was launched in the United States in 2015.

"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 a visual aid through a discreet, wearable platform, and easy-to-use interface," says a company communique.

Each OrCam device is hand-delivered at home by a certified OrCam trainer, who will teach the new user how to use the device.

According to Eliav Rodman, director of marketing, MyEye has thousands of users around the world, and the company is seeking new distributors. He was addressing a group of Caribbean journalists at OrCam's headquarters, recently.