Here’s what you need to know to make an informed decision on whether the OrCam Read is right for you. No fluff, just facts!
Who is OrCam Read for?
OrCam Read is for anyone experiencing difficulty reading, including those with mild low vision, dyslexia, reading fatigue, or those who read large amounts of text.
What are people saying?
Low vision users and industry professionals are impressed with OrCam Read’s accuracy and convenience factor.
“Having trialed and texted many devices and apps with text to speech capabilities to support client needs, the OrCam Read device using standard typed text is the best I have experienced. Its speed of processing was fast, accurate with a point and shoot type of control.” — Carol Leynse Harpold, MS, AdEd, OTR/L, ATP, OT’s with Apps and Technology
Sam Seavey (The Blind Life) says it’s just the right complement to magnification, and comes the closest to perfection of all the many OCR devices he has tested.
“I am loving this little thing here. I am just blown away, guys. I’ve always been impressed with OrCam, and in fact, I’m going to go on record and say I think they have the best OCR in the game right now. It’s fast, it’s reliable, it’s accurate, it doesn’t have to be connected to internet… So convenient, I can just have this, pull it out of my pocket, or, have it hanging on the lanyard around my neck, click, scan; within a few seconds, I’m listening to it. I get the information and then I can carry on with my day.” — Sam Seavey, The Blind Life
Here is Sam’s full video review, in case you’d like to see the product in action:
And, the device has gained international attention. Here is a brief clip from a tech reviewer talking about the OrCam Read on an Australian morning show:
“It’s unbelievable that with the touch of a button, it can read text. It’s amazing technology… the kind of thing that will breathe life into people who can’t see.” — Trevor Long, Australian tech expert and critic (Source: nocamels.com)
Where can you use OrCam Read?
Anywhere! The OrCam Read does not require an internet connection, so you can read offline at home, work, school, running errands or wherever the day takes you. You can connect Bluetooth headphones or simply use the device’s built-in speaker for your audio. It reads any printed or digital text (such as text on a smartphone).
When can you use it?
Anytime. You can use it at home for reading books or magazines, or for following recipes while cooking. The device can also be used as a tool for quickly identifying household objects such as spices, cleaning products and personal care products.
If you have low vision and are out shopping, you can use the OrCam Read to read shop names, identify products on the shelf and read price tags. This is especially important in the age of COVID-19, allowing you to inspect products before touching them. You can also use the device to help navigate stores safely by asking it to read social distancing signage. Again, it does not require internet, so there is no need for WiFi to operate the device.
OrCam Read also reads digital text (such as text on a computer, smartphone, or tablet) with accuracy and efficiency. Say you are out and about, looking for a local coffee shop. You can run a search on Yelp using your smartphone and have OrCam Read quickly tell you the search results.
Image source: TechGuide
OrCam Read sets itself apart as the only portable, wireless, personal AI reading device that reads full pages of text in real time. Essentially, it transforms any printed or digital text into an instant audiobook. It’s discreet and easy to use with very little learning curve.
It is worth noting key differences in the technology. Other similar handheld reading devices (sometimes called “reading pens”) read text line-by-line. The reader holds and moves the device manually over the text, scanning each word. Words and sentences are often fragmented, muddying up the context. On the other hand, OrCam Read’s laser beam scans an entire page of text with the click of a button, instantly reading text aloud to the user. The text becomes easier to understand, reading comprehension is gained, and the entire experience is more enjoyable.
Furthermore, in the current health crisis, OrCam Read can help low vision users stay safe, improve mental health and reduce social isolation. You can have more confidence venturing out, knowing the device will help you navigate social distancing signage and identify products on the shelf without touching them. While home, you can use the device to stay active with hobbies like reading and cooking.
How much does it cost?
OrCam Read Price
A final note: funding assistance may be available through the Association of Blind Citizens. Students should check with their school administrators regarding COVID-19 relief funding options for adaptive technology.
Purchasing adaptive technology is an investment of time and financial resources, and with many options on the market, finding the right solution is not always easy. Our goal is to narrow the field by researching, testing, and offering only the best, highest-quality products that use advanced, innovative technologies to help low vision users maintain their independence. If you are considering purchasing the OrCam Read, or are currently using the device, please drop us a comment below to share your thoughts.
By AdaptiVision staff. Reviewed by Stuart Flom.