OrCam Technologies, the Jerusalem-based firm known for its AI-driven vision assistance tech, has nabbed its third consecutive win at the annual CES 2022 Innovation Awards. The company was named an innovation honoree in the Accessibility and Health and Wellness categories by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), for its MyEye PRO voice-activated wearable device for people who are blind, visually impaired, or have reading challenges.
The firm, founded by Professor Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram, the same duo that founded Israeli drive assistance giant Mobileye, received the award ahead of CES 2022. CES (the initials for Consumer Electronics Show) is the annual trade show and tech event organized by the CTA where some of the biggest brands and global innovators in the consumer electronics industry come together to showcase groundbreaking technologies. While last year’s CES was an all-digital online event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CES 2022 is scheduled to return to Las Vegas in-person next month. The event takes place from January 5 to January 8, 2022.
The CES Innovation Awards is the annual CES competition honoring outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products across 28 product categories.
OrCam’s MyEye PRO is a lightweight wearable tech device that assists people who have visual challenges. The portable device, which is the size of a finger, magnetically mounts on the frames of eyeglasses and instantly reads aloud any printed text (books, menus, signs) and digital screens (computers, smartphones), and recognizes faces and identifies products/bar codes, money notes, and colors, offline and in real-time, with complete data protection.
The device’s interactive Smart Reading feature enables users to tailor their assistive reading experience, and the Orientation feature assists with guidance and identification of objects. The newly released “Hey OrCam” enables control of all device features and settings hands-free, using voice commands.
Rafi Fischer, OrCam’s public and media relations director, tells NoCamels the voice activation/understanding capabilities made possible by the interactive ‘Hey OrCam’ querying puts this technology on par with the major global tech players’ voice-activated assistants.
“Yet there is a significant difference as OrCam’s tech is integrated on assistive-specific platforms that change the lives of those with visual impairments, learning and reading challenges,” he explains, “We enable rich, more independent life experiences.”
“We have developed significant device enhancements in the OrCam MyEye PRO, breaking new ground in personal AI technology. We are proud that CES has once again recognized our innovative spirit and impact on both the accessibility and health & wellness domains,” said Tzahi Israel, SVP Sales & Marketing of OrCam in a statement.
“Developed in direct response to our user’s feedback, OrCam MyEye PRO enables an entirely new level of accessibility for people with visual impairments and those with reading challenges,” said Prof. Amnon Shashua, OrCam Technologies Co-founder and Co-Chairman. “The new integrations allow OrCam MyEye PRO to listen to, comprehend, and respond to natural voice commands, thereby transforming the device’s complete operation into an intuitive and enjoyable user experience.”
“OrCam has the largest R&D team in the world focused on engineering assistive technology for people who are blind and visually impaired. This enables us to concentrate on developing features that can truly transform a person’s life. Integrating the voice-activated, ‘Hey OrCam’ personal assistant and the ‘Smart Reading’ feature, OrCam’s versatile text-to-speech engine, provides unprecedented independence for tens of thousands of users globally. These developments allow people to work more effectively, pursue higher education, and go about their daily lives with confidence empowered by this device.”
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Fischer says the CES win “reinforces the focus and determination of OrCam’s R&D Team to continually improve the lives of people who are visually impaired. The wearable OrCam MyEye PRO elevates the company’s ‘AI as a Companion’ pioneering technology to a whole new level.”
OrCam won its first CES award in January 2020 just before the start of the three-day event that year. The company was named Best of Innovation” for accessibility (CTA) on January 5 for OrCam Hear, the device that “empowers hearing impairment by identifying the person speaking — from multiple speakers — to the person wearing the device. It isolates the voice while relaying the filtered speech to Bluetooth hearing aids in real-time. The device uses lip reading and body gestures to figure out which voice the user needs to hear and knows how to switch to a different voice when the user wants someone else to listen to. The device connects to a string and can be draped over the neck.
“We are truly honored that the CTA has distinguished OrCam Hear as one of the Best Innovations of CES 2020 in the Accessibility category,” said OrCam co-founder Amnon Shahsua, at the time, according to The Jerusalem Post. “We deeply appreciate the recognition by the CTA of OrCam’s wearable assisted technologies’ ability to continue to transform people’s lives
Last year, the OrCam Read digital read was named a CES 2021 “Best of Innovation” honoree in the accessibility category. OrCam nabbed the award ahead of the first all-digital CES 2021 event.
The CES Exhibition is the pinnacle of the consumer electronics industry. We are excited to have earned this recognition for the last three years for three different accessibility-oriented technologies – and now encompassing the Health & Wellness sphere as well,” Fischer says.
OrCam will preview new technology at CES 2022 next month that “will transform our handheld OrCam Read device into a new class of education solutions that empower students of all ages who are challenged by reading and learning,” Fischer tells NoCamels.
OrCam first introduced the OrCam Read at CES 2020. The company then officially launched the handheld OrCam Read digital reader in March 2020, designed for people with reading difficulties stemming from mild to moderate vision impairment, reading fatigue, dyslexia, aphasia, and other conditions, as well as for those who read large volumes of text, in March 2020.
“Our users wanted the device to be wireless and more discreet, so we packed all the tech into the tiny second generation OrCam MyEye, which is the size of a finger, lightweight, and magnetically connects to any pair of eyeglass frames,” Dr. Yonatan Wexler, EVP of R&D at OrCam Technologies, told NoCamels at the time.
Last month, the handheld OrCam Read device was also named a TIME Magazine best invention of 2021.