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Transmitting the visual world through audio
Wearable assistive device creators OrCam Technologies and Starkey have combined their products to help for people with both sight and hearing issues, using artificial intelligence (AI) to capture and understand visual and auditory data from the user’s environment.
The OrCam My Eye Smart glasses can scan for text, graphics and perform facial recognition.
They can now connect wirelessly to the Starkey Livio Edge AI hearing aids, facilitating their use to read text, rather than understand speech.
The Starkey Livio Edge AI uses artificial intelligence to analyze the acoustic environment and make adjustments for optimal hearing – as opposed to more traditional hearing aids, which generally need to be programmed with presets for particular settings and sounds. Audio can be streamed from an Apple or Android smartphone using Bluetooth. The hearing device is available with four tiers of AI functionality – the lower the tier, the less scope for customization.
Meanwhile, the OrCam My Eye is essentially a smart camera and personal assistant which attaches to a person’s spectacle frames to recognize and communicate visual information in real-time. Operated using hand gestures and voice command, it works regardless of Internet access.
The individual components for the combination aren’t cheap – priced at over $8,000 – but the result of the collaboration could have life-changing implications for the potential users.
OrCam Technologies co-founder and joint CEO, Professor Amnon Shashua, explained: "People who have both vision and hearing loss are often unable to find solutions that effectively address both of these limitations.
"OrCam's cooperation with Starkey represents an advantageous opportunity, demonstrating OrCam’s ability to apply the advanced computer vision and machine learning methods we have developed to transmit the visual world through audio.”