Vision loss can be very difficult. For those born with no vision or individuals with an eye condition like macular degeneration or glaucoma, interacting with the world takes a special set of skills and patience. Fortunately there are assistive technology devices that can make this interaction possible and lead to functionality once not thought possible.
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A relatively new introduction to the arena of vision loss assistive technology is the OrCam. Put simply, the OrCam is a portable device with a smart camera designed to assist the visually impaired. The video below will give you a more detailed description of what the OrCam can accomplish.
The Orcam was recently used for evaluation for a working aged man that was looking for a way to become more independent, be more productive in his current part-time position, and also to further his career goals to explore other employment options. During the evaluation the OrCam was used to read worksheets, restaurant menus, spreadsheets, smartphone screen data, computer documents and websites and also the phone book to look up numbers. On most text it performed very well and the consumer was able to clearly identify the information being delivered. The OrCam did have difficulty reading grainy text like the phone book, but with the speed of taking a picture and having the text converted to speech, he was able to perform the process several times so that the information was understandable.
The OrCam is a device that is very impressive and should continue to improve as the developers take user feedback and make updates on a regular basis. The OrCam is also receiving some mainstream support by way of funding from Intel. The future looks bright for the OrCam!