Lionel Messi in OrCam Collab for the Blind or Visually Impaired

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Lionel Messi in OrCam Collab for the Blind or Visually Impaired

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Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi, known for his social work, will head a global project to increase awareness of challenges faced by the blind and visually impaired.

Partnering with the Israel-based technology giant, OrCam Technologies, the Barcelona soccer star will gift the OrCam MyEye device every year to children with inspiring stories who are blind or visually impaired. 

These children, some of whom he will personally meet in Barcelona, will then become part of the ‘OrCam Dream Team,’ which is led by Messi.

According to the WHO, blindness and vision impairment affect at least 2.2 billion people around the world. Causes range from genetic mutations to uncorrected refractive errors, cataract and diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. 

It has a greater impact on the lives of people in low and middle-income countries where accessibility and disability services may be lacking. The majority are over 50 years old, making this concern more acute with a fast ageing global population.

As part of the project, Orcam, a leader in personal, AI-driven innovations, arranges meetings between the visually impaired and Messi, giving them the opportunity to meet the Argentinian legend face to face.  They will also receive a gift of the OrCam MyEye device, a revolutionary assistive technology solution that will increase their independence in their daily lives. 

Messi is proud to make a difference to the lives of the blind and visually impaired

The first of these meetings took place just before the coronavirus pandemic shook the world and was a surprise to the participants from around the world. Messi said: “Witnessing each of the members of the ‘Dream Team’ trying out the OrCam MyEye features, it was clear that this would be a life-changing device for each of them. I am proud to be an OrCam Ambassador to truly make a difference for so many.”

Orcam MyEye is a tiny camera and microphone which is magnetically mounted on the wearer’s eyeglass frames and designed to be intuitive and easy to use for people with visual impairments. 

The AI-driven artificial vision device discreetly reads printed and digital text – from any surface – out loud, and in real-time, to the device-wearer. It also recognises faces, consumer products, colours and money among other objects. 

It is activated by an intuitive pointing gesture or simply by following the wearer’s gaze – allowing for hands-free use – without the need of a smartphone or Wi-Fi, resulting in real-time audio communication while ensuring data privacy. 

Visual impairment can limit people’s ability to perform everyday tasks. They often have less interaction with the world around them as they may be uncomfortable or not confident enough to move around on their own. Increased possibility of social isolation can also affect their quality of life and mental health. 

While devices like Orcam MyEye may not be a cure for blindness they can help many become more autonomous by allowing them to gain access to information and overcome societal stigma. Such devices can also contribute to economic independence by allowing them to find or keep a job more easily.

“Our goal is to use sophisticated ‘AI-as-a-companion’ technology that helps people with disabilities in real-time, in the real world,” explained Professor Amnon Shashua, co-founder and co-CEO of OrCam. 

“In the performance of daily activities, the device offers independence, providing users with critical support to better integrate into society, especially within employment and educational settings. This technology supports users in amplifying their inherent potential. We are convinced that this collaboration with Messi – who is the embodiment of maximizing potential, and an individual who is admired worldwide – will allow us to reach millions of people in need.”

www.orcam.com


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