Artificial vision helping Lake County boy be more independent

OrCam device offering new opportunities for blind & visually impaired

When Dylan LeMaster was born doctors told his parents he'd be blind.

"As he developed as an infant, we noticed that he was starting to focus on some things that had some bright color to them," said Rick LeMaster, Dylan's father.

Dylan, an incoming sixth-grader, has a severe visual impairment. He only sees general shapes, shadows and limited color- nothing in detail.

" I can see a shadow of you. I cannot see your camera. I can see the grass. I can kind of see the trees (and) the sky," Dylan told reporter Damon Maloney.

The OrCam MyEye 2 is helping the blind and visually impaired be more independent. It's artificial vision technology that's been available to the public for a few years.

Locally, it’s available at Magnifiers & More in Mentor. The small camera device attaches to the frame of glasses. It takes a picture of printed text, processes it and reads it aloud.

"It's the coolest piece of technology that blind and visually impaired people can have," Dylan said.

Dylan demonstrated how the device works using a Harry Potter book he recently received as a gift.

The OrCam can also read barcodes on products in stores and identify money. 

"It gives people their independence," said OrCam area sales manager Aliza Olenick. "So, it will read to you in real time... anything printed text on any surface. It's going to read you a magazine (and) a menu. You don't have to wait for someone to tell you what's going on."

Dylan finds the technology useful.

"I'm a little slow on reading Braille. The worst part about it (having a visual impairment) is that I can't read road signs. The OrCam will help," Dylan said.

The device also does face recognition, so it can recognize people in a room. It's one of Dylan's favorite features.

The OrCam model Dylan is testing is about $4,500. It's not covered by insurance. Dylan's family is working on securing the necessary money, so he can own one.

Capps Tavern in LeRoy Twp., known for its pizza, is donating proceeds from its upcoming golf tournament and Chinese auction to the cause. Dylan' school is also chipping in with a coin drive. Those wishing to donate to the family can contact Rick or Becky LeMaster at 440-254-4100.

The family is grateful for the community support.

"The potential seems really great," Rick LeMaster said. "And if other kids or people can see how well he operates with this and how much it does for him I think it'd be awesome."

Aliza Olenick, an area sales manager with OrCam, explains more about the vision assistance technology in this web extra.

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