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Angela in Midway, Georgia asked: “I have a question about the OrCam MyEye device. I have an 88 year old mother who has lost her vision. The first question is, does it require an Android or Apple phone to operate? The second question is does it require an Internet connection? My third question is, does anyone have experience using the device and I wanted to have comments on the ease of use. And my fourth question is, for an older person who does have vision issues, do any of your listeners have alternative suggestions to help her be able to read?”
Angela, the OrCam MyEye devices have both Android and iOS apps that will allow you to change settings, learn to use the devices, control them remotely, and find them, but they are not required for the devices to operate and they can be used without the apps.
The same goes for the internet connection, the device can be connected to the internet to download updates but they are supposed to be able to operate without it entirely.
As far as personal experience, we dont have any ourselves but we do have audience members with different degrees of vision impairments, so if anyone listening has ever used an OrCam MyEye device and would like to share their real world experience and help Angela, call 1-800-899-INTO or use the microphone button at IntoTomorrow.com or the Into Tomorrow app.
The device makes a lot of very impressive claims, from being able to recognize objects in the room and describe them, to being able to parse articles in magazines and find elements like headings and connect them to their articles, to being able to recognize people.
Frankly, the claims seem a little too good to be true, and the devices may disappoint in the real world, but its hard to tell because there arent a lot of reviews out there that were not sponsored by the manufacturer.
The MyEye devices are not cheap, theyre somewhat customizable but expect a price tag in the thousands. That alone sets the expectations pretty high.
In terms of helping someone with loss of vision read, the answer will depend on what youd want her to read. Devices such a smartphones have built-in screen readers that will do a reasonably good job of reading just about everything. eBook readers like the Kindle dont always offer good screen readers but their apps do.
For regular books, audiobooks may be a very good option, for news apps like Apple News+ also include professionally narrated articles, but the answer is likely that short of a smartphone there likely isnt a satisfactory all-in-one tool.
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