Google Glass For Visually Impaired Reads Street Signs Out Loud

Google Glass For Visually Impaired Reads Street Signs Out Loud

OrCam is a camera-based system that recognizes words and objects and relays them to the wearer via audio.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 5 june 2013

Israeli startup company OrCam has built a camera-based system that helps the visually-impaired ‘read’ signs and numbers. OrCam is basically a camera or sensor that recognizes words and numbers and then relays it to the user via a bone-conduction earpiece.

The device is worn like Google Glass and is connected to a portable computer that fits in the user’s pocket. The system is designed to read “text in the wild” such as bus numbers, newspaper articles, and traffic lights. OrCam can also recognize faces, products and places.


OrCam has a set of objects that are already pre-stored in its system, but it also allows users to add new items simply by shaking it or waving a hand. The device will then instruct the user how to store the item in its library. This function allows the user to store specific and important items like credit cards and even store the faces of significant persons like family and friends.

OrCam was founded by researcher and Hebrew University computer science professor Amnon Shashua. The system is based on computer vision algorithms that he has pioneered with Shai Shalev-Shwartz, his fellow faculty at the university, and Yonatan Wexler, one of his former graduate students.

OrCam is available on the company website for $2,500.



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