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Dec 20, 2019

Low Vision Clinic and devices can help those with impaired sight

by: Betty Lin- Fisher Beacon Journal

Mary Kosovich’s vision has been deteriorating for the last 29 years.

Kosovich can’t read a book or written words without assistance, such as a magnifier, and she has a hard time distinguishing people’s faces as a result of retinal problems and glaucoma, said Kosovich, 60, of Kent.

“Over the past several years, it’s become worse,” said Kosovich, who had to stop driving because of her low-vision issues. “I have literally walked past my husband in the store and not recognized him.”

So when Kosovich got a hands-on demonstration of a device that will read text to her and uses artificial intelligence to recognize faces, she was excited.

“This would be a game-changer for me. It would enable me to do a lot of things I haven’t been able to do the last several years,” said the longtime patient of United Disability Services’ Low Vision Services Clinic in downtown Akron.

On Tuesday, the clinic was holding an open house demonstration of the OrCam MyEye 2 device. The device, which attaches onto the side of any eyeglass frame, uses optical character recognition (OCR) and artificial intelligence to read aloud to the person or connects to a Bluetooth-enabled device, such as an ear bud. It can read printed text and also recognizes bar codes (to say what the product is), currency and colors.

The device can also “learn” a person’s face.

Aliza Olenick, area sales manager for OrCam, put on her glasses with the OrCam device and asked Cheryl Reed, an optometrist and director of the UDS Low Vision Clinic to stand in front of her. The device scanned Reed’s face, asked Olenick to verbally identify Reed and stored the information.

Olenick then handed the glasses to Kosovich and stood shoulder to shoulder with Reed. The device announced that Reed and Olenick were in front of Kosovich.

“So cool,” Kosovich said.

The device also identified “a female and a male” in front of Kosovich (the reporter and Kosovich’s husband, neither of whom had been programmed into the device) when she looked over…..

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Source: Beacon Journal

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