OrCam has created a system for the visually impaired that serves as a digital eye of sorts, attaching to a pair of glasses in a way somewhat similar to Google Glass’s design. Once attached, the camera serves as a third eye, monitoring the wearer’s surroundings to offer aid when needed. The accompanying software interprets what the camera sees.
The software runs on a wearable computer, which the user takes with them when using the device. One might wonder how a camera monitoring the environment helps someone who is visually impaired, since they aren’t seeing through the camera. Such is solved by the device’s main feature, which is the ability to point at an item or object for information on it.
For example, when at a restaurant, the user can point at the menu, or when walking down the road, the wearer can point at an object they can’t make out. When doing so, the object being pointed at will be identified by the wearable computer’s software via the camera input. Once identified, the information about the object is relayed to the user.
The device informs the user about what the object or item they’re pointing out is using spoken audio. This is accomplished via bone conduction, allowing the user to hear the resulting information without having to wear a dedicated ear piece, which would interfere with the wearer’s ability to hear adequately and could prove uncomfortable in the long term.
The device’s abilities are quite extensive. It can, for example, read text like menus and signs. The OrCam can also find bus numbers and keep an eye on traffic lights, to name a few offerings. The main limitation of the device is its price, however. At $2,500 USD, many individuals may find it outside of their budget.