Thanks to technological advancements and new applications, assistive tech products for the visually impaired have significant improvement in recent years. One highly awarded assistive tech product that particularly caught my interest was OrCam MyEye, a small portable device to help a visually impaired person read the text and recognize faces. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to try and write a review about this exciting product at the 2020 Taiwan AT Life exhibition.
Orcam MyEye Overview
- Lightweight, convenient and fashionable
- The device has the instant reading capability to read text and recognize faces whatever you point it to
- It allows visually impaired people anywhere fast reading possible and engage with the world
- The product is pricy and may not be covered by some local funding programs for assistive technology
- Inconsistent reading performance based on low vision user’s experience
AssistBuzz Rating 4.0
Innovative Factor 5.0
Learning Curve 5.0
OrCam MyEye is a wearable, artificial vision device that allows visually impaired people to understand the text and identify objects through audio feedback, describing what they are unable to see. One of the best features of this wearable device is that it is extremely light and fixes easily to a magnetic mount attached to the sidearm of a pair of glasses. Unlike typical heavy assistive tech gadgets, I did not feel discomfort or a burden of any kind. In fact, it still looks fashionable with my own prescription glasses, as the picture below shows.
Design and Performance
OrCam consists of a piece of equipment that measures 3 × .83 × .59 inches with a camera at one end and a speaker next to the other end. The device mounts on the frame of my eyeglasses via a magnetic mount.
Unfortunately, OrCam does not allow blind person to physically see their surroundings. Having said that, it is an AI and OCR-driven smart camera that takes pictures and reports feedback through a text-to-speech engine whose voice I could hear coming through its speaker.
Text Reading with Orcam
How it works is that your finger points to where you want it to read, ideally pointing to somewhere a couple of lines below where you want it to start and keeping your reading materials about 30 to 40 cm away. During my trial of Orcam, I pointed to a book directly in front of my eyes, and the Orcam read out the first half of that page to me, as shown below.
Based on my trial experience, I enjoyed most about using OrCam is this device did read whatever I pointed at a book. I believe this product has wonderful potential, but one of the problems is that OrCam was inconsistent about where it started to read. If you have a low or moderate vision like me, you may get confused with what it just says about the content when it starts reading from somewhere on that page.
Face Recognition with OrCam
OrCam’s facial recognition capability is another fascinating feature I wanted to try. What it does is each time someone uses OrCam to takes a picture of a person’s face, the picture is stored within the device. Then, the next time the device’s camera views the person from the photograph, the device will recognize that person and even identify them by name. The coolest thing is you can have OrCam tell you any time it sees a face whether it knows that person or not. I was excited to hear OrCam saying that a man with short hair was in front of you when accidentally pointing to the company sales representative.
- Identifying products, money notes, barcodes and colors
- Telling time
According to the company’s official website, it offers a few options for Orcam with a range of prices, starting from $1990. OrCam devices are now also available on Amazon. I love this revolutionary product but it is quite expensive.
Orcam MyEye2 Demo
Here is a demo video released by the company to help you understand how this wearble assistive technology device works.
- Device Weight: 22.5g
- Device Size: 7.5 x 2.1 x 1.5 cm
- Camera: 13Megapixels
- Battery: 320mAH nominal
Source: Orcam Official Website
This is not a sponsored blog post, and all opinions are my own. Thanks for reading my review and your support to the AssistBuzz team.
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