By Glen Coull, Guest Blogger. I am a DBUK (Deafblind UK) member who has been registered blind for over 10 years. A recent visit to the RNIB centre led to an inadvertent discovery of a new piece of digital technology that is already having a positive impact on the quality of life for the Deafblind community. OrCam is a smart camera and microphone that mounts onto the frames of a person’s glasses. It can read text, describe objects and identify faces for the visually impaired. After I decided to purchase the device, the technology became a life saver: “The camera attaches to a box like control that I can fix to my belt. I can use the buttons on the control to read letters, identify labels on food products and quickly get rid of all that junk mail I no longer need”. ”The ‘box like control’ that I am referring to is actually a computer that uses complicated algorithms to process what the camera sees and then says this back through the earpiece. This is what gives OrCam its functionality. Just the simple gesture of pointing will also initiate OrCam to understand what you want it to read or describe. “I can now read newspapers I haven’t read in ten years, menus in restaurants and books as well. Apparently you can get it to recognise faces and objects, but I haven’t done this yet.” My experience gives an exciting glimpse into how the power of ‘artificial vision’ – in this instance computer science that teaches the computer to see – is having a really liberating impact on the user of the technology. Learn how you can use technology to support your daily life via our Digital Inclusion service. This service seeks to maximise the opportunities for Deafblind UK members to help you get online and benefit from the range of services, information and media available. Contributed by Tim Locke, Digital Inclusion Officer for Deafblind UK.
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