NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Imagine not being able to make out a street sign, read the text from a book, or even recognize the face of a loved one.
That’s the reality for millions of people. But as CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported, an amazing new device is changing that.
The device is for people with vision problems which aren’t correctable with eyeglasses. CBS2 first told you about the Orcam device a year ago, and even back then the technology was impressive.
Now, Orcam 2.0 is smaller and lighter with more functionality to restore independence to the visually impaired.
51-year-old Pedro Liz lost most of his eyesight to retinitis pigmentosa.
“Right now I have what they call tunnel vision,” he said. “I only see a little bit out of my left eye. Right eye, nothing.”
It had an impact on his life and work. He’s a disk jockey at a local radio station.
“I have to learn to do things different ways,” he said. “By touching, by feeling around.”
When Dr. Max first met Pedro a year ago, the early phases of the groundbreaking technology was changing his life. On Wednesday, he was at the Lighthouse Guild on Manhattan’s West Side showing off his new and improved device; the Orcam My-Eye 2.0.
“It can read text, faces, color, money, etcetera,” Rafi Fischer from Orcam Technologies said. “It reads different languages.”
The original device was a high resolution camera that was attached to glasses which were connected via a cable to a processor worn on the belt. The 2.0 is entirely contained in a lightweight device that attaches magnetically to eyeglasses.
Three visually impaired clients at the Lighthouse Guild were given the new My-Eyes that they had already had a chance to try out. They were excited about what the device will give them.”
“I’ll be able to identify buttons on mixing console at work,” patient Fitzville Martin said.
“When I go grocery shopping, I have food allergies, I have to read all the labels,” patient Adrienne Norbeck said. “Now I don’t have to bring a family member with me.”
“I can go through mail, quicker, regain a level of privacy,” congenital cataracts patient Lynette Tatum-Rios said.
The new cam can read street signs, identify products and Pedro even demonstrated how it uses facial recognition to memorize faces.
The amazing technology is predictably not cheap, each set of My-Eyes goes for $4,500 and isn’t covered by insurance. It is, however, available through the VA and also some states will pay for it through their vocational services if a person needs it for educational or employment purposes.