Israeli startup OrCam Technologies, which develops AI-powered technology to assist blind and visually impaired people, announced the launch of a new interactive voice-activated feature in the U.S, called Smart Reading. The innovative feature will easily integrate and improve the company’s assistive technology platform, offering blind, visually impaired, and dyslexia users the ability to customize voice-command for a clear reading experience.

Reads both print & digital content

OrCam harnesses breakthrough AI-driven computer vision and machine learning to innovate wearable and handheld platforms that provide increased independence to the device users, delivering "AI as a companion" – with all OrCam products operating in real time and completely offline, thereby ensuring data privacy.

Prof. Amnon Shashua, OrCam Technologies Co-founder and Co-CEO said, “We work tirelessly to create sustainable and long-lasting solutions that set the bar on the level of independence artificial vision technology can provide for people whose access to the world may be restricted, opening up new opportunities and enhancing their quality of life.”

The Jerusalem-based company’s Smart Reading feature combines the power of machine learning AI with natural language understanding (NLU) technologies, to identify and read back text from printed or digital formats. This technology gives blind and visually impaired people further advancement that improves their lives. The feature fully comprehends a user’s request and subsequently continues to retrieve relevant information from the text and read it back, and it’s all done in a matter of seconds.

"After devoting 10 years of R&D efforts to developing our pioneering OrCam MyEye device, we are proud to now offer the interactive Smart Reading feature, which takes AI-enabled assistive reading to an entirely new level of accessibility for people with visual impairments and those with reading challenges," explained Shashua.

Let’s say you want to access information from the text. All the user needs to do is be clear and provide simple voice commands like:  "Read [newspaper] headlines," "Start from vegetarian [menu items]," or "Read amounts [of a bill].” This allows the company’s algorithms to go to work retrieving and relaying relevant and useful info. Smart Reading becomes the "brain" that powers OrCam's text-to-speech engine, serving as a voice-activated assistant that understands and responds to what the user wants to know.

According to the company OrCam Read is a first-of-its-kind handheld digital reader, that empowers people with language processing challenges, including dyslexia. Leveraging OrCam's breakthrough computer vision technology, the lightweight OrCam Read is the only personal AI reader to instantly capture and read out loud full pages of text and digital screens. The device features intuitive point-and-click operation, which activates two precision laser guidance options, to read the entire highlighted text or target where to begin reading.

OrCam was founded in 2010 by prof. Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram, who both share the CEO position as well. The two are also credited with establishing another Israeli innovator, in Mobileye, the assistive driving system which was later acquired by Intel.