Guest Post: Sarah Matthews My name is Sarah. I am completely blind and I have been using the OrCam MyEye for seven months now. I lost my sight three years ago due to a head injury that damaged the optic nerve in both my eyes. I first heard about the OrCam device last year through several podcasts about assisted technology that I listen to. I had been researching what options were available to help me and I was immediately drawn to the OrCam MyEye because it is a wearable device which makes its use instant rather than having to set up equipment and be restricted to using it at home. The thought of being able to pick up the post in the morning and just point at the envelope and know immediately who it was addressed to was brilliant. So when I got hold of my own OrCam MyEye in December, I got to work learning how to use it and found it was just a matter of practise before I was able to do far more than I had thought possible. I live with my husband Graham and our four year old son Evan and OrCam has made a real difference in our lives. I use the facial recognition facility to save the faces of other mums that I meet in the playground and it has really helped me to feel more familiar with people as I don’t need to keep asking who is talking to me. And I also have found that the OrCam MyEye helps to give me a little warning when Evan is running towards me at speed for a cuddle. Evan comes home with all manner of things in his school bag and I use OrCam MyEye to find letters from the teachers and can instantly read them and know what is going on in his daily life and what I need to make sure he takes with him each day. I also love the ability I have now to pick something out of the fridge and read the label to identify it. And I can now browse through my cookery books to look for new recipes to try out. I feel more independent and it has improved my confidence as a recently blind person. Something that I really missed when I lost my sight was the experience of relaxing with a magazine or newspaper and now I find myself sitting in the garden reading my favourite magazine with a cup of tea like I used to. OrCam MyEye tells me if I have the text upside down and tells me to turn my head a bit to the left or right in order to best read the text. It will also tell me if I have pointed at a blank page. If I am interrupted part way through the article, I point to the text again and it will say ‘reading resumed’ and carry on. Those hints are really great because as a totally blind person, I have no idea where the text is on a page. It will also tell me if the light level is too low to read the text which is a prompt to get up and switch the light on when I am inside as I have no light perception. Another aspect of using OrCam MyEye that I really value is regaining some of the privacy I lost when becoming blind. I can now read the post independently, and when its something personal like medical appointments its great to be able to deal with this on my own rather than asking someone to read the information out to me. I have started to add objects to the OrCam MyEye now too so that I can quickly identify cans and packets of food in the kitchen which is great. I think that I would feel lost without OrCam now and I can see the potential for further development of it over the coming years to add more features and continue to make the every day life of blind and partially sighted people that little bit less frustrating and more independent.
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