Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Orcam Brings Facial Recognition and Exceptional OCR to the Game

The Orcam has been in pre-release in the USA for a few months and we have had the chance to try it out, and we are liking what we see. For those of you who haven't seen the promotional video (see it below) the Orcam is a wearable camera which attaches to the side of a pair of glasses and can perform OCR to read aloud whatever text the wearer is looking at. In addition the Orcam offers additional features such as facial recognition whereby, once you have stored a person in its memory, it will recognize that persons face when it sees them and tell you who you are looking at. It is also possible to store products into the Orcam's database so when you look at a products packaging it will tell you what the product is.

This technology can be extremely useful for the vision impaired or blind, and from our hands on we have seen that it works very well. The speed and accuracy of the OCR is exceptional, providing good quality speech output and being able to be triggered by the user simply pointing at what they want to be read. The speech is transmitted to the user via bone conduction so the audio is not spoken out loud to whoever is in the room with you!

Facial recognition is a feature that many will find useful to avoid embarrassing social faux pas, particularly useful for the blind or those with central vision loss, but does have limitations currently such as only being able to store 20 people in the memory, and having some problems if the person, for example, is wearing glasses but was not when they were initially stored in the memory. However there is a lot of potential for this idea and further updates will hopefully improve on some of these limitations.

The Orcam offers a new vision of how blindness and low vision technology can be integrated into your life through unobtrusive, wearable technology that assists with the things people most struggle with. Although not perfect, the Orcam offers a glimpse of the future of assistive technology and promises a new era where technology will seamlessly blend into a person's life and allow them full access to the world, whatever their disability.

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