Reading with OrCam What devices for visually impaired people are currently on the market? Let’s take a look. There are many tips and tools out there to help people with vision loss read. Non-optical tools include large print books and book stands that enable a more comfortable reading experience. Optical options include handheld or stand magnifiers that enlarge the image being viewed. Electronic devices include video magnifiers which allows the user to view an enlarged image of text or pictures that are placed under a camera. The image is displayed on a monitor or television. Other reading devices for visually impaired people are scanners, screen reading technology, braille printers as well as optical character recognition (OCR) software. What is OCR technology? OCR is the mechanical or electronic conversion of typed, or printed text into machine-encoded text. OCR can be traced back to the late 1920s when an Austrian engineer, named Gustav Tauschek, obtained a patent on a reading machine. This is the first OCR device in documented history. One such OCR device is the OrCam MyEye. The OrCam device takes a picture of text and converts it into spoken word. The message is then relayed to the user via a mini earpiece. The OrCam device can read text from almost any surface including menus, labels, streets signs, computer screens, newspapers, and more. The device allows the user to pause the reading and also instructs the user if the text is upside down, too far away, or not clear enough. The OrCam can help people regain their independence. Giles Turnbull shares “sometimes there are books that I would love to read. There are occasions where I wish I could go to a library and root through ancient (or out- of – print and never likely to be available in electronic formats) texts.” Giles now has the OrCam MyEye and is able to read whenever he likes. As far as devices for visually impaired people go, the OrCam MyEye is the most portable, discreet, easy-to-use product out there.