WHO (World Health Organization) statistics have shown that more than 4 percent of the world's population is blind or visually impaired. An Israeli-based startup has taken the initiative to help them.
OrCam produces an accessory for eyeglasses that can read a book aloud or announce the names of friends and family.
OrCam is a company started in 2010 by the founders of Mobileye NV, the maker of autonomous vehicle technology that was acquired by Intel for about $15 billion last year.
The visual-aid startup recently raised $30.4 million in its latest round of funding, putting its value at $1 billion, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. OrCam has raised a total of $130.4 million from its investors till date.
"We have sufficient reserves of money to finish our development, but part of our investment rounds is also preparing the company for the next phase, which is IPO," OrCam co-founder, President and CEO Ziv Aviram said in a statement.
What is so special about OrCam's visual aid accessory MyEye 2.0?
OrCam MyEye 2.0 is a detachable magnetic accessory that can be mounted on the wearer's eyeglasses frame. The ultra-light solution adds less than an ounce of weight to the eyeglasses and works independently without a smartphone or Wi-Fi.
The wearable vision tech solution is so compact, it's almost the size of a finger. But what it does is more appealing than the way it looks.
With integrated instant face recognition and identification of products, colors and currency notes, MyEye 2.0 can help the visually impaired with daily chores. The wearable is also capable of reading printed or digital text from any surface in real time and announce the names of known friends and family members in a room in 12 different languages.
But the best part feature of MyEye 2.0 is its capability to understand pointing gestures and follow the wearer's gaze to help identify what's in the line of sight.
"With OrCam MyEye 2.0 we have developed an end-to-end solution that employs Computer Vision not only in the principal feature flow but also in the user interface itself," said co-founder, chairman, and CTO Amnon Shashua, who also serves as the CEO of Mobileye NV.
OrCam MyEye 2.0 is priced at about $4,500, almost the cost of a mid-range hearing aid in the US. This device is best suited for the visually impaired or people who have difficulty with reading.
OrCam's target audience is massive. According to WHO data, approximately 253 million people in the world are visually impaired and 36 million of those are blind.