In an effort to help those with vision problems, Jerusalem-based company OrCam has invented a high-tech device that helps the visually-impaired compensate while going about everyday activities.
While noting that the OrCam Artificial Vision Device doesn’t bring back vision, it may be able to “do the next best thing–to help the visually impaired navigate the world with a low-cost device and without invasive procedures,” OrCam vice president of engineering Erez Naaman told the Times of Israel.
The Israeli start-up hopes to harness the smart glasses trend in a big way. According to its website, OrCam can help you do everything from read the paper in the morning to give correct change or even identify a product. The device does this using a small, high-resolution camera mounted on eyeglass frames and controlled through a simple pointing motion. The camera is able to read text, recognize objects and do other similar visual tasks, and then “whispers” in the ear of the wearer.
Although still somewhat limited, OrCam has big hopes for its product, envisioning a future where it will come “equipped with facial recognition, the ability to recognize places, colors and much more.”
The current device costs around $2,500–the price of many hearing aids, notes Haaretz.
Founded by Amnon Shashua, a computer science professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, his colleague Shai Shalev-Shwartz and a grad student, Yonatan Wexler, OrCam seems to have a bright future ahead out it.
“What is remarkable is that the device learns from the user to recognize a new product,” Tomaso Poggio, a computer scientist at M.I.T., computer vision expert and former peer of Shashua’s, told Haaretz. “This is more complex than it appears, and, as an expert, I find it really impressive.”