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New Device Can Help Blind People Read

Update Date: May 06, 2016 06:00 AM EDT

Impaired vision or blindness is normally hereditary though it also comes as a result of age. While there are a lot of factors tied up to possible impaired vision, glasses have been commissioned to help out though the fact remains that it will still lead to a point when a person may have a hard time seeing at all.

For those who can afford it, there are medical procedures to address such assuming that it comes at the proper moment with better success rates. So where does that leave people who opt not to undergo such procedures or are technically in the borderline that could eventually lead to blindness.

Technology has its list of perks and here is one that could help out. Though it doesn’t seem like something that can help improve or restore vision, it can help people with impaired visions read once more.

The solution is the OrCam, a mini camera mounted on glasses that features optical character-recognition technology. The device does the trick by initially deciphering text and reading it to the person via an earpiece.

While that should be good news for the ones who are already having a hard time to read, it can reportedly also be programmed to remember faces and some products. To operate the device, all a person has to do is tap it, press a trigger button and target it on a certain item.

"It is easily used and could potentially bring greater independence, particularly for older patients who are struggling with vision loss," said study co-author Dr. Mark Mannis, chair of ophthalmology at the University of California, Davis.

With the OrCam, a study was carried out on 12 people who had an average age of 62. All were suffering from vision loss caused by various disorders meaning all were legally blind.

The study started out by orienting the participants on how to use the OrCam. After about a week, all were able to do nine out of ten tasks that included reading messages, recognizing paper money, locating a room in a hallway using wall-mounted signs, recognizing products and distinguishing shaped and sized cereal boxes.

This should be a major breakthrough for the people with impaired vision particularly the ones affected with age-related macular degeneration or advanced-stage glaucoma.

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