The OrCam MyEye. How the blind and visually impaired can read
How the blind and can read! Here was the announcement on Now.en. Now this is very grandly put. Yet there is a grain of truth in it. Visually impaired with good lenses, that’s what I usually call myself. Without lenses I see nothing and with lenses I can keep up with society. Now that I have to temporarily leave a lens out, I notice again how hard it is not to be able to see everything clearly. Well this is nothing compared to others. For years I’ve been reading up on developments in lenses and glasses. This is precisely why I thought it was so cool to be present at the introduction of the OrCam MyEye.
Keratoconus, an eye disease
For over twenty-five years I have had problems with my eyes. I started wearing glasses at a very young age, the symptoms got progressively worse around adolescence. At seventeen I was diagnosed ‘keratoconus’ by the eye doctor. Keratoconus is a condition in which the normal shape of the cornea changes. In keratoconus, the cornea is less firm than usual, leading to changes in shape. The shape then becomes conical, rather than spherical. Keratoconus usually starts in puberty and occurs in most cases on both eyes. The condition generally increases slowly.
Developments around lenses
When I was seventeen there was no information on the Internet yet. I wore ill-fitting hard lenses for years. Until I got Scleral lenses after twenty years. These lenses allow me to see everything reasonably well. In the course of time, other possibilities have been found besides these lenses, which can slow down or stop the process. In my time this was not, but I have always watched these developments with great interest. Just because I don’t know if one of my children might also have this disease.
Now that -due to inflamed blood vessels in my eye- I cannot wear my lenses for a longer period of time, I notice again how much I am helped by these lenses. I now see little and this hinders me in daily life. What must this be like for the blind and visually impaired. A question I have been wondering more and more after the press event of the OrCam MyEye. Last week the OrCam MyEye was presented to the press and public. I attended this, along with my children. Also present were experiencers who told what they thought of the Orcam MyEye. But first start at the beginning. For what is the OrCam MyEye?
What is the OrCam MyEye.
The OrCam MyEye is an intelligent camera designed for people who are blind or visually impaired. The OrCam MyEye is user-friendly, it responds to simple gestures. You can read newspapers, books, signs or labels. It recognizes – previously stored- faces and recognizes for example banknotes and credit cards.
The OrCam MyEye is a small magnet that you place on the side of your glasses. With a cord it is connected to a box the size of a smartphone. The OrCam MyEye responds to cues from your finger.
With the flick of a finger
Ste you point your finger at a street sign. You then hear the click as if a picture is being taken and the OrCam MyEye tells you what it says. This is also how pages are read aloud. According to the two experts by experience who told this day how they had experienced Orcam MyEye, it reads well the lyrics. You can choose a male or female voice. Via an earpiece that you can attach to the magnet, you can also choose that only you hear the voice.
Developments and tools
On the way to Houten, where the presentation was given, we made up all sorts of things about the talking glasses. We ( the boys and I) thought you could walk around with these glasses and tell exactly what you saw. That seemed a little too far ahead. You still have to point out what you want read to you. Otherwise, our expectations are pretty much correct and I won’t be surprised to see this in the distant future. I am really pleasantly surprised about this development and found it wonderful to see -and to hear- how enthusiastically this was spoken about.
I think this innovation in seeing for the blind and visually impaired is really super and I can imagine that in the future these talking glasses will be v
eel more will be able to. Many blind and visually impaired people will be able to become much more independent and self-reliant because of these glasses and I? I continue to follow it all.