Pedro Liz, a 51-year-old man from Harlem, New York, has been living with Retinitis Pigmentosa his whole life. Retinitis Pigmentosa, also known as RP, is an eye disease in which vision deteriorates over time. As a child, Pedro could see almost perfectly, but by age 40 he began using a cane and other aids to assist him.
Pedro first heard of OrCam from his doctor, Dr. Jeremy Chess, about a year ago. OrCam has changed his life both in his work, career aspirations, hobbies, and personal life.
Years ago, Pedro was told that he couldn’t become a computer technician because the position required more vision than he would have. Instead, he learned to repair larger items, such as snow-blowers and lawn mowers. But recently, Pedro began to take classes, specifically tailored for blind people, to become a computer technician. OrCam made this dream possible, by giving Pedro the ability to excel in his classes. He uses OrCam daily to complete reading assignments, both in books and online.
Pedro love music, and he hosts a radio show featuring salsa music, which is on the City College New York radio station, WHCR 90.3FM. People often give him items to read on the air, and previously, Pedro would have to find someone else to read it for him – a problem if no one else was at the studio at the time. With OrCam, Pedro can simply read and memorize the materials, and then read them on the air himself.
In his daily life, OrCam has made Pedro feel much more independent. “I can go around my neighborhood. I really like that. I’m on one side of the street, and I can see what the store is across the street from me. I don’t have to cross or ask to find out.” Additionally, OrCam has increased Pedro’s privacy. He can now read his own mail and email without having to ask others for assistance.
Pedro also has a very large family, and when they all get together it can be very overwhelming for him. Using OrCam’s face recognition, Pedro can scan the room to know exactly who is there, so he doesn’t end up speaking to the wrong person or simply talking to a chair.
“OrCam is a life changing device. It has changed my life, by giving me independence, and the ability to read again. I use it all the time in my everyday living.”