Wearable Tech Helps People With Vision Loss Read Print

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – For nearly 10 years, Neva Fairchild has been responsible for Esther’s Place in Dallas.

The model apartment is equipped with gadgets and ingenious solutions to help people with vision impairments lead independent lives. Fairchild, who works with the American Foundation for the Blind’s Center on Vision Loss, has lived with low vision her entire life.

“I haven’t been able to see even very large print for 20 years.” Fairchild says.

Thanks to new technology, Neva can now read print of any size, just about anywhere.

The OrCam MyEye is mounted on a pair of glasses. The wearable technology consists of a tiny camera, an earpiece, and a clip on base. When a user points to text, the OrCam scans the words and speaks it into the user’s ear.

It can make moving through a grocery aisle or a kitchen pantry much simpler,

The OrCam MyEye stores up to 150 of a user’s favorite products.

Neva demonstrates the technology by pointing to the label of a can.

“Pedigree Dog Food,” the OrCam reads back.

“I know that this is dog food instead of a can of soup or beans,” she explains.

It also makes handling cash a breeze. The OrCam can read the denomination of a bill out loud, as a user points to the cash.

Wearers can also train the tech to remember up to 100 faces. The Orcam announces family members, co-workers and friends as they come into the camera’s view.

“I’ll know who came into the room, and for me, it’s always required them to say something or me to ask— ‘Who just came in?’ Fairchild says.

The technology has its limits. Right now it can only read print, not script.

The “MyEye” model costs $3,500. Health Insurance does not cover the cost.

Bob Roehm, OrCam’s Texas Area Manager says that could change.

“At this time Medicare is exploring that, Whatever Medicare does other companies usually follow,” he explains.

Still, those who use it daily believe the independence it can provide is priceless.

“It’s really kind of amazing,” Fairchild says.

For more information, you can contact OrCam at 1-800-713-3741.

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