The ability to read is considered by many to be the bedrock of education, and the key to successful integration into global society. It is a given that everyone should learn to read if they can, but what about those people who are visually impaired or dyslexic? Yes, there are books written in Braille and some devices that can help translate words to speech but none advanced enough to truly level the playing field. That is until an Israeli company, OrCam, developed its OrCam Read 3 device which uses technology to turn the whole text to speech experience into something almost magical.
The OrCam Read 3 device is around the size of a highlighter pen and can scan and read words and sentences in 17 different languages and turn it immediately into speech, including newspaper articles and food ingredients on a label. Although it doesn’t need an internet connection to work, once it is connected, its built in AI technology allows access to additional features such as additional summaries of scanned text.
The Read 3 joins the already successful OrCam MyEye product which was designed to help visually impaired people navigate the world around them. The Read 3 can also be used to help people with dyslexia, ADHD and other visual challenges to “read” by listening. In addition, a student using the device can read into it and Read 3 will score their performance, provide feedback, and help them with difficult words. It will also ask them comprehension questions to see how well they’ve understood the text they’ve just “read”, and it will provide teachers or parents with a detailed analysis, so they can adapt their teaching methods.
The goal of the company’s founders, (who also created Mobileye, the driver assistance system bought by Intel for $15.3 billion usd in 2017) was to create a device that could serve as a handheld reader, a magnifier and a stationary reader, something which it does seamlessly making “reading” further accessible while providing unique value and versatility to the user.
As Frederick Douglas said: “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” Thanks to Israeli Tech and OrCam, the world just moved one step closer to making that a reality.