OrCam Technologies, a leader in personal, AI-driven innovations, today announced that Lionel Messi, the global soccer legend, will be OrCam Technologies’ new Ambassador, leading the charge to improve accessibility through OrCam’s breakthrough AI technologies for people who are blind or visually impaired. The Israel-based company is launching the partnership collaboration with the soccer legend to increase awareness of the challenges faced by the blind and visually impaired community globally.
As a component of the project, OrCam will arrange meetings between dozens of visually impaired people from around the world with the soccer superstar in order to make a dream come true: an opportunity to get to know the soccer icon in a face-to-face meeting, as well as receiving from Messi a revolutionary assistive technology solution that will increase their independence in their daily lives, the OrCam MyEye. Every year, Messi will gift the OrCam MyEye to people with inspiring stories who are blind or visually impaired, some of whom he will personally meet in Barcelona. These individuals will each become members of the “OrCam Dream Team,” led by Messi.
The first of these meetings took place just before the coronavirus pandemic shook the world. The meeting was particularly striking for Messi, who said, “The emotion was incredible. Meeting with this amazing group of people from around the world was truly a magical and inspiring moment. Witnessing each of the members of the ‘Dream Team’ trying out the OrCam MyEye features, it was clear that this would be a life-changing device for each of them. I am proud to be an OrCam Ambassador to truly make a difference for so many.”
Approximately 300 million people worldwide suffer from blindness or varying degrees of visual impairment. OrCam MyEye helps to dramatically change their quality of life.
The participants in the project are from various countries around the world and are blind or have varying degrees of visual impairment. The meeting with the soccer star – and the gifting of the OrCam device – comes as a complete surprise to them during the first meet and greet event.
“This is a particularly exciting point in time for me and for OrCam. The story of OrCam’s founding is, first and foremost, a story of people – people who struggle with real problems and challenges in their lives. Our goal is to use sophisticated ‘AI-as-a-companion’ technology that helps people with disabilities in real time, in the real world,” explained Professor Amnon Shashua, co-founder and co-CEO of OrCam. “In the performance of daily activities, the device offers independence, providing users with critical support to better integrate into society, especially within employment and educational settings. This technology supports users in amplifying their inherent potential. We are convinced that this collaboration with Messi – who is the embodiment of maximizing potential, and an individual who is admired worldwide – will allow us to reach millions of people in need.”
OrCam MyEye – A breakthrough in wearable assistive technology
Wireless, lightweight and compacted into the size of a finger, the pioneering technology of the AI-driven OrCam MyEye artificial vision device discreetly reads printed and digital text – from any surface – out loud, and in real time, to the device wearer. Newspapers, books, computer and smartphone screens, restaurant menus, labels on supermarket products, and street signs become instantly accessible. Additional features of OrCam MyEye include instant face recognition and identification of consumer products, colors and money notes.
The newest capability now available on OrCam devices is Smart Reading, which was launched in the U.S. in July, and will be available in additional languages by the end of 2020. The interactive feature takes the breakthrough OrCam MyEye platform to a higher level of accessibility, enabling users to customize the reading experience, allowing them to access only the information they want from a text using intuitive voice commands. The device also features a beta version of the new Orientation feature, which helps guide users, helping to make them aware of physical surroundings, including doorways, hallways, chairs and more. Both features – harnessing NLP (natural language processing) – were first previewed at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Magnetically mounted on the wearer’s eyeglass frames and weighing only 0.8 ounces/22.5 grams, OrCam MyEye has been meticulously designed by leading minds in the Computer Vision and Machine Learning fields to be intuitive and easy to use for people with visual impairments. The device is the only wearable artificial vision technology that is activated by an intuitive pointing gesture or simply by following the wearer’s gaze – allowing for hands-free use – without the need of a smartphone or Wi-Fi, resulting in real time audio communication while ensuring data privacy.
Globally, OrCam MyEye is available in 25 languages and in 50 countries. The company’s flagship device was chosen as a 2019 TIME Best Invention.