The system consists of a miniature high-powered camera and speaker that is mounted to the patient’s glasses. With the help of an attached smartphone-sized computer, it can recognize print in newspapers, books, magazines or on a sign.
The camera is connected to the portable computer designed to fit in the patient’s pocket. Through the earpiece the computer reads the words seen by the camera. This is accomplished by pushing a button or pointing a finger at what needs to be read. The computer makes it possible to “read” documents by using optical character recognition software and speech technology.
The OrCam can be taught to recognize faces and products. It has pre-programmed recognition for US paper currency.
The device can read almost any printed text. I have not tested it on a computer screen or smartphone, but the manufacture claims this is possible.
This aid was designed to help patients read any text, allow them to go grocery shopping and recognize faces.
The device has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. There are two versions, the OrCam Reader (reads text only) and the full featured unit which also recognizes products, faces and currency.
Dr. Kinkade has been able to wear and test this device. As with any new exciting technology, more work needs to be done to make this type of adaptive equipment really beneficial and practical for more patients.