A Glimpse into the future at Nolke Opticians
OrCam MyEye is a vision device reads text, recognises people and machine learns via an internal database, and Nolke Opticians is the only practice in Ireland to stock this ground-breaking technology.
The device allows someone with a visual impairment to access any printed text on any surface wherever they are, using a combination of a camera, advanced computer vision and machine learning, and a small speaker.
It was an obvious application for computer vision, explained Leon Paull, OrCam’s head of business development. “It’s quite unique in the assistive tech arena to have that level of investment and effort in one company behind one product,” he said.
“The device works in a very simple, gesture-based way.” explains Kjell Nolke, founder/owner of Nolke Opticians, “The wearer points to whatever it is they want to “see” or read, and the MyEye device takes a photograph. Sophisticated software processes what is in front of it and then, in the case of text, reads it back to the user. What’s more, it can also recognise friends’ faces, so it can alert the user as they approach.”
The small speaker is placed in such a way that it is easy for the wearer to hear the output without it being overly intrusive.
OrCam MyEye means you can read a newspaper, find products in a shop or tell who is approaching you without the need for outside assistance. Giving people with vision impairments back a degree of independence is something of which OrCam is proud.
MyEye can recognise colours and products, read newspapers and restaurant menus, and decipher street signs. If the text is large enough to distinguish, MyEye can read it. Depending on where you buy the device, it will also recognise banknotes, an area where, Paull said, many users would otherwise run into difficulty. The version of the device sold in the United States will recognise different dollar amounts for both US and Canadian currencies; the one sold in Ireland will distinguish between the denominations of euro notes.
“The beauty of the OrCam MyEye, though, is that it learns,” explains Kjell, “Whether it is products or people, the device can add to its own internal database. You can teach the device faces, with a couple of clicks, and next time that person is in front of you, MyEye will tell you which of your friends has come into view. If it doesn’t know, the device will tell you if the person in front of you is male or female.”
MyEye is not just for people with vision problems, though. There is a version of the product that can be used by people with dyslexia. That software doesn’t have the AI component that learns with the user, because it doesn’t need to carry out tasks such as facial recognition or product recognition. To find out more about Orcam MyEye visit www.nolkeopticians.com