A tiny camera which can translate text into speech could help improve the lives of people with poor vision, researchers say.
The device, called OrCam, is mounted on a spectacle frame, making the character-recognition camera unobtrusive.
It recognises text and reads it to the user using an earpiece. Researchers say it can also be programmed to recognise faces and commercial products.
The technology has been developed by University of California – Davis Health System in the US, and the results of a small study into its use have just been published in JAMA Ophthalmology.
The pilot study included 6 men and 6 women with an average age of 62. All the participants experienced vision loss from a variety of disorders, including age-related macular degeneration and end-stage glaucoma.
The participants told the researchers they would consider using it in their daily lives.
One of the study’s authors, Professor Mark Mannis, says in a statement: “This device offers hope to patients who are beyond medical or surgical therapy for the condition.
“It is easily used and could potentially bring greater independence, particularly for older patients who are struggling with vision loss.”
However, the researchers say more investigation is needed to assess how well the device performs. They also discovered that the character-recognition camera struggles to make sense of some fonts and may not perform well under certain lighting conditions.
REFERENCE : MEDSCAPE NEWS