A wearable device that "reads" text and converts it into speech has been created to help people with sight problems.

OrCam uses a camera mounted on a pair of glasses and a small computer to turn words into audio.
When the user identifies something that they want to read, they point at the text and the written words are played back to them via a speaker.
"Picture data is very rich and it takes a lot of effort to distil the useful bits of all that rich information into things that are actually useful to you," said Dr Yonatan Wexler, head of research and development at OrCam.
"We use a lot of techniques in artificial intelligence, in computer vision, in deep learning, to extract the useful information in an instant and provide it to the wearer."
The device works well on printed text in indoor environments such as bookshops, but it appears to struggle in varied light conditions and has not been set up to read written handwriting.
"When you're using a piece of tech, one of the things you need to do is practise using it in different environments," said Robin Spinks, who is partially sighted and a senior strategy manager at the RNIB.
"You quite quickly get a sense of where it works best and how it works best. So as a user uses an app, or uses a piece of hardware like the OrCam, you become more proficient … and learn how to get the best out of it."
Currently the device does not have any connectivity, but Mr Spinks hopes this will change.
He said: "Imagine being able to pair this up with a smartphone, using Google Maps or Apple Maps, and actually being able to have OrCam working in tandem with the mapping application."
One of the most common issues surrounding new technology is the price, and at £2,200 OrCam is quite expensive.
Dr Wexler disagrees. He said: "They [users] can take this device and read anything, and all of a sudden the world is open to them and they can do whatever they want and they can be successful. So for the whole of society, it's much cheaper.
A wearable device that "reads" text and converts it into speech has been created to help people with sight problems. A wearable device that "reads" text and converts it into speech has been created to help people with sight problems. Reviewed by True NewsBlog on Tuesday, October 04, 2016 Rating: 5

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