Israeli tech firm OrCam has developed artificial vision technology that helps the visually impaired using a camera and an earpiece to relay information from the surrounding environment
Ever since he was seven years old, Souleyman Bah’s eyesight has been deteriorating to the point where he has now lost about 80% of the vision in his left eye – and almost all of it in his right.
The business management student suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition that makes functioning in the world incredibly difficult, with text and symbols almost impossible to decipher in anything beyond immediate proximity.
In a bid to regain some of his sight, he now uses tech firm OrCam’s MyEye 2 portable device.
The artificial vision technology houses a small camera, which can be mounted on a pair of glasses, and recognises text and objects – relaying information to the wearer via a discrete earpiece.
Mr Bah said: “As a student, I have a lot of reading I need to do, a lot of books I need to read, a lot of handouts, a lot of PowerPoints, which is difficult with my visual impairment.
“The OrCam MyEye 2 makes it so easy for me to access any written text – all I need to do is point, the device takes a picture, and I have a voice there helping me all the time.
“But the best thing for me is the text to speech function, where you can point at anything that is text-based and have it instantly convert that text into speech.
“I feel like I have the confidence and I have the ability to do everything that everyone else can do.”
What is OrCam?
OrCam is an Israel-based firm attempting to harness the power of artificial vision technology by integrating it into a wearable platform that helps improve the lives of individuals who are blind, visually impaired or have reading difficulties.
It was founded in 2010 by Professor Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram, who launched the original OrCam MyEye device 2015, with the second version released last year.
The MyEye 2 is completely wireless – only about the size of a finger – and uses powerful artificial vision technology to instantly and discreetly read printed text from any surface, and to seamlessly recognise faces, products, barcodes, and bank notes.
The company’s website features numerous testimonials of those who have used it to improve their lives, from racing drivers and school students to avid literature readers and business owners.