Guest blog: Holly Tuke In today’s post I am going to tell you about my own personal experience with a piece of equipment especially designed for blind and visually impaired people called the OrCam. The OrCam electronic glasses for the blind consist of a camera that fits onto glasses and it reads text, recognises faces and products and speaks them out loud. I hope you enjoy this post! A few months ago I came across an article about the OrCam electronic glasses for the blind. I decided to do some research into it and watched the video on the OrCam website and was amazed by its capabilities. I wasn’t sure what to believe as things often seem different in videos and articles on the internet. They can often be made out to be something that they’re not. I decided to arrange a free demonstration so that I could experience the hands on demonstration of the OrCam, letting me try it myself which enabled me to find out exactly what this piece of technology could do. The demonstration gave me the opportunity for me to decide whether it would be something that I could benefit from or not. Let me tell you, I was amazed at its capabilities. I’ve been blind since birth and come across a lot of assistive technology over the last few years but there is nothing quite like the OrCam electronic glasses for the blind. To summarise it: it’s really easy to use, it has extremely accurate text recognition, the camera on the glasses is discrete and the device is portable. After some serious consideration about purchasing the OrCam I decided to do so and let me tell you, I’m so glad I did! When purchasing the OrCam, the trainer came to my house and did two hours of training with me and familiarised me with the device, taught me the different gestures in order for me to use the OrCam to its full potential and answered any questions that I had. I think having training to use such devices like the OrCam is vital so I was very impressed that this was included with the package. The only downfall that I have found with the OrCam so far is that it comes with a choice of glasses; however, these were two big for me and the bone conduction earpiece did not sit where it was supposed to so I had to go out and buy my own glasses rather than use the ones provided. I do think that this is possibly a future improvement for OrCam but it is a minor issue. The OrCam electronic glasses for the blind has opened a whole new world for me and given me so much more independence. I no longer have to rely on sighted people to read text to me such as mail, menus in restaurants and such documents. For example, I can pick up a book, magazine or a newspaper just like any sighted person and the OrCam will read it to me. The feeling to be able to pick up a book and have it read to me in a matter of seconds is amazing. I am a university student, throughout my time in education I have always had to get work sent to me electronically or converted into braille which has caused many problems to say the least. Now that I have the OrCam I can read the printed materials just like every other student in my lectures. It will make studying a lot easier and quicker for me as the OrCam will read a page of text at around the same speed a sighted person would. The OrCam electronic glasses for the blind also has other features such as face and product recognition. I don’t use the face recognition myself as I have been severely sight impaired since birth so recognising people’s voices is something I’ve just learnt to do. I do think the product recognition is a fantastic feature though. You can input products that you use on a daily basis into the OrCam and it will tell you what they are. I think this is an incredibly useful feature as many products feel the same so it’s often hard to differentiate between such products. The developers of the OrCam are constantly working on it and developing new features all the time so I can’t wait to see what features it has in future upgrades. It has already given me so much independence, and I’m sure this will continue to grow in the future. This piece of equipment is very expensive so I honestly can’t tell you how grateful I am to own such an incredible and life changing piece of assistive technology. I hope you enjoyed this post and reading about how the OrCam has helped me. Holly x You can check out Holly’s blog by following her on social media: www.lifeofablindgirl.wordpress.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/hollytuke Facebook: www.facebook.com/lifeofablindgirl
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