Visually impaired London student is overcoming accessibility challenges and achieving independence with cutting-edge artificial vision technology
"The OrCam absolutely gives you that key important word: independence"
Souleyman Bah is a student studying Business Management at the London School of Business. However, unlike most of his peers, Souleyman has degenerative eye condition which means that he has been losing his sight since he was a child.
“I have been diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa since the age of seven. It is a deteriorative eye condition commonly known as ‘tunnel vision’. I have lost most of the vision in my right eye, and my left eye probably has about 20% vision remaining. There are a whole host of issues with any eye condition, but the main one for me which has been a major barrier is reading text, particularly small text. When I go shopping reading ingredients and labels, general information when I’m out and about, books at the library. Anything that is text-based is very very difficult for me to access.”
Souleyman has been using a cutting-edge artificial vision device called the OrCam MyEye 2 to help him to overcome some of the challenges associated with his visual impairment. The OrCam MyEye 2 is a breakthrough, wearable artificial vision device designed for people who are blind, visually impaired, or have reading difficulties. The device is completely wireless – only about the size of a finger – and uses powerful artificial vision technology to instantly and discreetly read printed text from any surface, and to seamlessly recognise faces, products, barcodes, and bank notes.
He says, “The best thing for me about the OrCam MyEye 2 is the text to speech function, where you can point at anything that is text-based and have it instantly convert that text into speech. As a student I have a lot of reading I need to do, a lot of books I need to read, a lot of handouts, a lot of PowerPoints, which is difficult with my visual impairment. The OrCam MyEye 2 makes it so easy for me to access any written text – all I need to do it point, the device takes a picture, and I have a voice there helping me all the time.”
Souleyman also uses his OrCam to read train departure boards, as well as when he is out socialising where he uses the OrCam to read menus, drinks list, displays, and noticeboards. He describes the difference that having the OrCam device has made for him, saying, “The OrCam MyEye 2 gives you the ability to just pick up anything, a newspaper, a book, a menu, and you don’t have to rely on other people. When letters come through the door you can just read them without having to hassle anyone else.
I can go anywhere and do anything and feel like I have the confidence and I have the ability to do everything that everyone else can do. The OrCam absolutely gives you that key important word: independence.”