What is the OrCam Reader, and how does it work? This article explains everything about this accessibility tool that’s transformed hundreds of people's lives.
What is the OrCam Reader, and how does it work? Our full guide
OrCam is a company that leverages developing technology to help people who are blind, visually impaired, or have reading difficulties. The company’s flagship product, the OrCam MyEye, is a wearable device that allows people to do tasks they would otherwise have problems with.
OrCam also specializes in other assistive technology tools and devices for people with vision loss, including the OrCam Read, also known as the OrCam MyReader. These devices help people maintain their independence, and the brand is praised worldwide for its work.
This article focuses on the OrCam Read device and highlights its beneficial features for people with dyslexia and those with reading difficulties.
What is OrCam Read?
OrCam Read is a handheld device for people suffering from reading fatigue, mild low vision, or reading difficulties. It’s also a device for people who read large amounts of text regularly.
The tool has a smart camera that reads digital text from a digital screen or printed text from a printed surface. The tool received the top Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2021 Best of Innovation Award in the Accessibility category.
This personal reading device uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to help people overcome their impairments. The device is easy to use—just point it at a piece of text and click. The reader will read the text aloud in real-time. Users don’t have to scan each sentence or word.
The device can be used at home, at school, in the office, or during the commute. The device works well even in poor lighting conditions. It doesn’t require internet connectivity to work, so you can even use it offline.
University students and people with no impairments enjoy this device as well because it helps them be more productive.
Below, we highlight the most important feature of this device:
Full Page Capture
OrCam Read scans and analyzes the whole page of the document or book you want to read. This feature makes reading larger documents or books easier, even if you have no visual impairments.
The laser guidance feature is great for intuitive and functional reading sessions. If you only want to read a fraction of the text, a specific box of content, or any other document segment, you can do so using this feature.
You can choose to capture a particular text block or tell the device where to start reading, and it will follow your command.
The OrCam Read can read aloud any type of text to the user. Books, computer screens, signs, barcodes, newspapers, smartphone screens, product labels, and menus are some of the most popular examples.
Use the reader while traveling abroad, commuting through the city, or in a library to scan for books and signs faster. Tell the device to “Read amounts,” “Read the instructions,” or “Read the title” to let it know which part of the text to focus on. Use the “Start from” command to tell it to start reading from a specific section.
You can also activate the device using voice commands like “Hey OrCam” using the smart reading feature.
Bright LED Light
The OrCam reader is suitable for use even in dim light conditions. The LED light offers a smooth reading experience regardless of your surroundings.
How does OrCam work?
OrCam is comprised of a processor unit measuring 5.5 x 2.25 x 0.8 inches. The processor weighs 5.5 ounces and easily fits the person’s hand.
The second component is the camera. The camera should be placed at the front of the person’s glasses, more precisely at the right arm of most standard-size eyeglasses or sunglasses. Weighing only an ounce, the camera is super lightweight, so it’s not tiring to wear.
Users can use the Power button, Volume Up and Down buttons, and the Trigger button to operate the device.
The battery of the OrCam lasts for up to 4.5 hours. The device has a built-in speaker you can use to read the text in real time, even offline. You can also connect the reader to a Bluetooth device.
The device uses optical recognition technology (OCR) to scan text and read it aloud.
How does assistive technology help people who are blind or visually impaired?
People with visual impairments rely on different types of assistive technology to overcome their difficulties:
Closed circuit television devices or CCTVs
Mobile devices (iOS, Android)
Text to speech tools like Speechify
All these devices help people with visual impairments or such reading difficulties as dyslexia to decipher, read, and understand the context by bypassing their disabilities.
Gain access to affordable assistive technology with Speechify
Affordable assistive technology has never been more available. Speechify text to speech is an easy-to-use tool for reading any text—printed or digital—aloud. The tool comes at a fraction of the price of OrCam readers, but it offers many of the same benefits.
The text to speech technology on Speechify uses OCR capabilities to scan text from printed paper. You can use this app on your Android and iOS device in over 20 languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and many others.
How much does OrCam cost?
OrCam MyEye 2.0 is priced at $4,500.
Does OrCam really work?
Yes, OrCam is a reliable device that really works.
How many OrCam devices are there?
There are three available OrCam devices: OrCam MyEye 1, OrCam MyEye 2, and OrCam MyReader.
What is the difference between OrCam MyEye and OrCam MyReader?
The MyEye device can read, identify products, and recognize faces. The Reader can only read text and has no face recognition or product identification features.
What are the benefits of the OrCam reader?
The OrCam reader helps people with visual impairments navigate the world and read books faster and easier. It scans and reads the text for them, saving the people time and effort to read difficult texts. Plus, OrCam doesn’t require WiFi to operate.
How is OrCam different from other devices?
OrCam is wireless, handheld, lightweight, and easy to carry along with you. All three available OrCam devices offer unique features that make them comprehensive tools for helping people with visual impairments.
What is the most common use for OrCam?
Most people use OrCam to help overcome their reading difficulties.