What is assistive technology for the blind and why is it so important?
Assistive technology for blind and visually impaired people includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices that promote greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they have difficulty performing.
The OrCam MyEye helps with such task mainly activities involving reading. The OrCam MyEye is not technology for the blind to see but rather technology that allows the user to be able to read text without asking others for help. The device snaps a picture of text and relays the information to the user via a small earpiece. This allows the user to be able to read work emails, medicine labels, nutrition facts and more all on their own. For people who are visually impaired, the ability to read independently opens doors for them in the workforce.
Vocational rehabilitation (VR) is a government funded program set up to help people with disability overcome barriers to access, maintain or return to employment or school. The VR recognized the benefits of the OrCam MyEye and how this piece of technology for blind and visually impaired people can help people regain their independence. As such, some VR agencies have started working with OrCam and recommend the OrCam MyEye to their users. Vocational Rehabilitation is also knows as the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) in certain states such as Oklahoma and California. Recently, the California DOR announced the approval of the OrCam MYEye now enabling qualified state residents to benefit from the OrCam. The approval allows blind and visually impaired state residents who are engaged in or seeking educational employment opportunities to apply for a fully-funded device.
There are other pieces of technology for the blind but none as small, portable, and discreet as the OrCam MyEye. The size of the device allows users to use it without standing out in the crowd. Randy, an OrCam user, commutes back and forth a lot to Chicago on the train. “When I use my magnifier to read, I feel like others are watching me. With the OrCam MyEye, I can listen to a book without being concerned that other passengers are staring at me,” says Randy.
So it might not be technology for the blind to see but it definitely helps people who are blind or visually impaired be more independent and live fuller lives.