OrCam's new assistive devices are claimed to seek out speakers, identify strangers, and more
It was seven years ago that we first heard about the OrCam, a wearable device for the blind that reads text aloud, recognizes faces, and identifies objects. Its makers are now back with some new assistive gadgets, at CES.
First up is a wearable known as the OrCam Hear.
Designed to work with third-party Bluetooth hearing aids, it uses a combination of lip-reading technology and artificial intelligence-based algorithms to identify the main speaker in a conversation. It then proceeds to isolate their voice from the distracting background audio, transmitting it to the hearing aid.
In this way, it reportedly addresses the so-called "cocktail party effect," in which existing hearing aids simply amplify all of the sound in a room, making it difficult for users to hear individual people.
Next up is the OrCam Read. Intended for use by people who have difficulty reading, this pen-sized handheld tool utilizes integrated lasers to highlight sections of either printed or onscreen text. It then reads that text aloud, with a built-in LED providing its camera with illumination in dimly-lit environments.
Both the Hear and the Read should be released sometime this year.
Finally, there's the OrCam MyMe.
This AI-enabled device will be worn on the user's clothing, automatically utilizing its integrated camera to recognize the faces of the people they meet. It will then proceed to wirelessly communicate with a companion app on their smartphone, providing them with data such as each person's name, contact information, LinkedIn profile and other details.
The facial photos won't be stored in the device or online, in order to respect everyone's privacy. We're told that the product is presently still in development.