Are there glasses that can read out loud to you? Yes, and they’re called OrCam MyEye. Here’s what you need to know.
Are there glasses that can read out loud to you?
Text to speech (TTS) technology is packed with benefits for visually impaired people. This assistive technology tool helps those with low vision be independent and navigate their surroundings more confidently.
This article shares all you need to know about glasses with TTS features to help you or a loved one enjoy life to the fullest despite any impairment.
OrCam MyEye—A new type of reading glasses
Smart eyeglasses are revolutionary when it comes to accessibility features for people with low vision. OrCam is an Israeli-based company specializing in making such products possible. OrCam MyEye is one of their flagship gadgets.
OrCam MyEye attaches to the eyeglasses of the wearer, turning regular glasses into a pair of smart glasses. It has a tiny smart camera that can read and recognize digital text, faces, and printed text from almost anywhere—food menus, labels, emails, books, etc. You can even use them as glasses for reading in bed at night to help you relax.
OrCam MyEye is suitable for all users, regardless of age. It’s also beginner-friendly, so you can use it even if you’re wearing the gadget for the first time. You may have heard of these eye glass readers before, as they have been advertised as reading glasses seen on TV.
The device is often a go-to choice for people with dyslexia and other learning and reading disabilities. OrCam MyEye is often considered the best reading device for macular degeneration, low vision, blindness, and other visual impairments.
What is the difference between OrCam MyEye and OrCam Read?
OrCam MyEye and OrCam Read are assistive technology devices designed to aid visually impaired and dyslexic individuals, but they serve different specific needs. The OrCam MyEye is a wearable device that attaches to the user’s glasses and uses a camera to read aloud text from any surface, recognize faces, and identify products, giving real-time auditory feedback to the user. On the other hand, OrCam Read is a handheld device designed specifically for reading tasks. Users can point it at a block of text, and the device captures and reads the text aloud. While both devices harness the power of artificial intelligence to convert visual information to speech, the MyEye offers broader features for daily life, whereas the Read is focused primarily on reading assistance.
A detailed review of OrCam MyEye
OrCam MyEye, as a voice-activated device, follows the wearer’s instructions and reads text, smartphone screens or recognizes faces.
The two models of OrCam MyEye include:
- OrCam MyEye Smart with text reading boasts the Smart Reading feature that follows voice commands
- OrCam MyEye Pro with face recognition, product identification, text reading, barcode reading, money notes, time telling, and Orientation and Smart Reading features
OrCam is made of a small hardware piece measuring 3 inches x 0.83 inches x 0.59 inches that mounts on eyeglasses. The camera is located at the front end and the speaker on the other end. Operation is completely hands-free.
Thanks to the magnetic mount, you can use any eye or sunglasses with OrCam. The package comes with several mounts for usage on multiple glasses.
Users can set a speech rate and language (both male and female voices in multiple languages and variations) that works best for them.
OrCam needs plenty of light to function properly. The device informs the user when it lacks light to complete tasks like reading barcodes or recognizing faces.
The gadget is self-contained in one hardware piece and can run from two to five hours on a single charge. The relatively low battery life makes it easier to integrate OrCam into a daily routine if you can afford to spend half an hour to recharge it throughout the day.
As far as reading is concerned, the gadget does a great job. It can capture the whole page or screen, so you don’t have to move it word after word.
The device will let you know if there’s more text after it stops reading and advises you to take another picture to access the content. The touch bar hand gestures make it easy to start, pause, stop reading, and skip forward or backward.
Face recognition works well on OrCam. You can set the device to recognize all the faces it sees around you or only to alert you when it sees known faces. The latter is the default setting.
The gadget can quickly learn a face when you hold down on its touch bar and have a person move their face slowly to the left, then to the right. The database supports storage for up to 100 faces. Note that OrCam can’t recognize faces from pictures or social media.
OrCam MyEye pros
- Small, lightweight design
- Advanced features
- Reads barcodes, labels, and menus
- OCR technology
- Connects with Bluetooth
- Connects to any pair of glasses
OrCam MyEye cons
- The small size makes it unsuitable for people with dexterity issues
- It doesn’t allow the person to see the environment physically
- Short battery life
- Money reading functionality could be better
- Hefty price tag
OrCam MyEye is an excellent device for people with low vision. But it is expensive. Fortunately, you can try text to speech software that can read text aloud using the same OCR technology for a fraction of the cost.
Use Speechify to supplement smart reading glasses
If you don’t want to buy a pair of smart reading glasses or special reading goggles, you can still enjoy reading assistance with Speechify. You can also benefit from Speechify even if you do have smart glasses like OrCam MyEye.
Speechify is a text to speech software that turns any smart device into a reading device. With Speechify, you can easily convert web pages, emails, social media posts, SMS messages, and other content into audio.
The software relies on AI and OCR, meaning that it can read physical printed text. Tools like Speechify benefit people with all types of reading disabilities, including dyslexia, vision loss, eye diseases, and more.
If you lack the budget for a Bluetooth wearable gadget like OrCam glasses, Speechify fits the bill perfectly. Read any text out loud in real time with or without a WiFi connection. The app is available for iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Linux devices. It also works as a Chrome extension.
Functionalities like playback rate control, offline and online use, a wide range of AI voices, and universal compatibility with all operating systems make Speechify a valuable tool you don’t want to miss.
Learn more about Speechify and give it a free try today.
Does OrCam really work?
Yes, OrCam helps people with visual impairments read text from their surroundings aloud. OrCam turns regular glasses into smart glasses, and it has been tested by thousands of users worldwide.
Can you use OrCam for other languages?
OrCam includes English, French, German, and Spanish support. More languages will be added in the future.
What are the benefits of reading glasses?
Reading glasses help visually impaired people read text, street signs, and barcodes. It can even recognize people’s faces. Without these glasses, people with low vision would have to rely on others to retrieve such information.
Can you read a book with the OrCam device?
Yes, users can read books with OrCam devices. The tool can scan the whole page simultaneously, so it’s unnecessary to scan words or phrases individually.
What are mirrored reading glasses?
Mirrored reading glasses have a reflective coating on the lenses to reduce glare and offer a stylish appearance, while their primary function is to aid in close-up reading or tasks requiring magnification. They are different from smart reading glasses.