Innovative Practice 2018 on Accessibility

Vision device to understand texts and identify objects

OrCam, a start-up company, was founded in 2010 in Jerusalem, Israel, with the mission to use advanced computer technology to help the visually impaired. OrCam MyEye is a portable, artificial vision device that allows vision-impaired people to understand text, and identify people and objects. The device was released as a prototype in September 2013 and OrCam MyEye is currently available around the world in ten languages, with additional languages under development.

“When I went shopping I would have to ask total strangers to help me find things, which was humiliating. But now those feelings are gone because of OrCam MyEye. The device helps to give me all kinds of independence, so that I don’t feel like a burden.”

Kathryn TheisenOrCam MyEye user from the United States
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Vision device to understand texts and identify objects
Organisation:OrCam
Country
of Implementation
Worldwide

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Some 10,000 individuals have benefited from the product since its start.
  • MyEye is currently available in ten languages and others are in development.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

Visually impaired people have great difficulty reading printed and digital text and recognizing faces.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

Orcam MyEye’s vision technology assists people who are blind, visually impaired, or have conditions such as dyslexia, prosopagnosia, or aphasia, among others. The device enables users to instantly and discreetly read printed and digital text from any surface as well as to recognize faces, products, money notes, street signs, and much more – thereby achieving greatly increased independence.
An image of the device and it's packaging.
Orcam MyEye’s consists of two components: a head unit and a base unit. The head unit has a camera and a microphone and is mounted on the frame of a pair of eyeglasses. The box-like base unit contains the algorithms and processing components that give the device its functionality, and can be clipped to a belt or left to rest in a pocket. The head unit and base unit are connected via a cable.
With the point of the person’s finger, the device instantly responds and will infer whether it needs to read, find an item, or recognize a product, depending on the environment. Moreover, Orcam MyEye can identify previously entered consumer products, credit cards, and even pre-loaded money notes to make shopping, dining, and paying quicker and easier. To date, over 10,000 individuals worldwide have benefitted from this product.

OUTLOOK, TRANSFERABILITY AND FUNDING

The company is keen on improving the functionality of the OrCam MyEye device, and the next generation will be wireless and feature a highly compact design. OrCam focuses on being directly responsive to the particular needs of their A woman using the device while reading the newspaper.users. For example, many users requested that the device recognize the color of objects and read bar codes to identify products and OrCam added these two to its latest software release.
OrCam MyEye devices are currently available around the world in ten languages, with additional languages in development.
OrCam is funded by business investors and is not yet profitable. Government-provided subsidies of the OrCam assistive technology device would positively influence global reach and would help to make the device more affordable. OrCam is currently exploring this challenge/goal in Germany and Austria.
CONTACT
FACTSHEET

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LINKS AND FURTHER READING