Working with the visually impaired community, the OrCam team is always trying to find ways to better understand our users’ needs. The OrCam marketing team decided to go out and see for themselves what it is like to live with a visual impairment by making dinner reservations at Blackout, a dark restaurant in Tel Aviv. blind-diningDark dining, or blind dining, is the concept of eating at a restaurant that is pitch-black. Customers can’t see the food they are eating or the people that they are sitting with. The idea behind this concept is twofold. By removing the sense of sight, other senses of taste and smell are enhanced, allowing for greater culinary enjoyment. The blind dining experience for people with full vision allows them to relate (with a greater sense of compassion) to those with low vision – and that is exactly what it did for the OrCam staff. “The blind dining experience turned a routine activity like eating a meal into a direct, hands-on, four-senses investigation into what it might really be like to be blind. Now, when I speak with an OrCam user who is totally blind, all I have to do is reflect on that meal in order to imagine what it must be like for them to go about their daily routine”, said Ritt Dalton, OrCam Customer Support Specialist. The growth of this blind dining trend has done more for the visually impaired community than just providing this eye-opening experience for others. Many of these restaurants employ blind or visually impaired waiters and guides who would otherwise have a difficult time finding a job, as well as donating a percentage of their profits to charities and causes connected with visual impairment. Dark restaurants have been popping up all over the world and each restaurant has its own vibe and menu with some places providing live entertainment during the meal. Here are some restaurants around the world that offer blind dining: Dans le Noir – Paris, London, Barcelona, St Petersburg and Nairobi (Gizani) http://www.danslenoir.com/ Blind Café – Austin, Boulder, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland http://www.theblindcafe.com/ Blindekuh – Basel and Zurich http://www.blindekuh.ch/restaurant-in-the-dark-blindekuh-zurich.html BlackOut – Tel Aviv http://nalagaat.org.il/en/blackout/ Dine in the Dark – Bangkok http://www.dineinthedarkbangkok.com/ Nocti Vagus – Berlin http://www.noctivagus.com/english/ O NOIR– Toronto and Montreal http://www.onoir.com/

Bon appétit!!

If you cope with vision loss and wish that your loved ones could step into your shoes just for a day to get a better understanding of some of the challenges you have to overcome, take them blind dining for a truly unique experience. Contributed by: Hannah Ziring, OrCam Community Manager
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