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Product Comparison: OrCam VS Seeing A.I.

We at iAccessibility, from time to time,  like to compare two products  to see which one is more practical, and which one works best. Today, we decided to take a look at Seeing AI and OrCam, as both of these products have similar features, but different form factors. Lets start with going over each product and what it can accomplish.

OrCam MyEye

The OrCam MyEye is a fantastic product that is basically a camera  mounted on standard glasses. It lets the user look at things like text, products, faces, and colors, and the MyEye will attempt to convert what is seen into spoken output.

OCR

The MyEye contains two forms of OCR. The OrCam user can press a button, which will read text aloud to the user. The user can also point at text with their index finger to have OrCam read specific areas on a page.

Products

The MyEye has the ability to scan product bar codes. This will allow the device to identify labeled products, from foods to personal care items and more.

Colors

One of the more interesting features of the MyEye device is the fact that it can detect colors. The user can point at a surface without text to find out what the color is. The spectrum of color that the device can identify is quite extensive compared to Seeing AI.

Faces

The OrCam MyEye lets a user take a picture of a person’s face. Once this is done, the MyEye can determine which faces are in the room. This feature does require the person to record the name of the displayed face beforehand.

Summary

The MyEye from OrCam is a great device for accurate OCR. It is a stand alone device, and works really well. The downside:  The price comes in at over $3000 for the MyEye, and $2000 for the MyReader, which only supports OCR features.

Seeing AI from Microsoft

Seeing AI is an app in the iOS app store that lets users complete many of the same tasks as the OrCam MyEye, but with a few differences.

Short Text OCR

Seeing AI has a fascinating mode called short text, which will let the user read anything visible in the camera’s view. This also means that the app will reset speech if the text is moved to much out of the viewfinder, causing some frustration for users. However, this mode is extremely speedy and accurate, allowing a user to go through a large volume of small documents, like mail, rapidly.

Document OCR

The document channel lets the user scan traditional, longer, documents into Seeing AI for reading or saving. One must simply hold the page near the camera to scan a document. Seeing AI will help you align the document before it scans a page. It will ask the user to hold still once they have aligned the page properly, and it will take the picture. Some users have found, though, that the document recognition is not as good as the short text mode or other apps.

Product

Like the OrCam MyEye, the Seeing AI app lets users scan bar codes. The difference here is that Seeing AI pulls its product data from an online resource. The app provides tone feedback to allow the user to bring the barcode into focus before scanning. The picture is automatically taken at the proper time.

Facial Recognition

Seeing AI will let the user detect a person’s face after pictures have been taken and recorded in the app of that person. Seeing AI will also tell you information about the person, and of how many people are in the viewfinder. The downside to this feature is that the information provided, such as age and gender, is not always accurate, but Microsoft is still making improvements to the app.

Scene (Beta)

One of the most interesting features of Seeing AI is the scene channel of the app, which lets the user know what is in the immediate environment. Keep in mind when you use this channel, that it may not be the most accurate, since it is in beta.

Currency Reader (Beta)

Seeing AI will let the user read various currencies. Simply put the currency under the camera, and Seeing AI will automatically recognize it.

Color (Beta)

Seeing AI now comes with a color detection mode. It basically only recognizes primary colors at this point, but is effective

Handwriting (Beta)

Seeing Ai has an amazing new feature called Handwriting. This channel lets the user scan handwritten text and Seeing AI will read it out loud. This has been the best handwriting scanning I have personally seen in an app.

Light detection

Seeing AI’s last channel is the ability to detect the amount of light that is in a room. Users will hear a lower pitch tone for low light, and a higher tone for bright light.

Conclusion

The OrCam MyEye is an amazing portable device that works on its own without the need for a smartphone. While the services offered are great, I find the $3000 price tag to be a bit steep compared to the free price tag of Seeing AI. I would also have to say that OrCam provides a standard user experience while Seeing AI can vary based on which device the user is using. With that said, Seeing AI does offer more services with the light detection, handwriting, currency and scene channels. If you are looking for a stand alone device, and money is not an issue, then OrCam is right for you, but I think most users will find that Seeing Ai provides similar functionalities built right into the device they carry with them every day. I personally just wish that Seeing AI would make its way to Android.

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Texie for iOS: Does it Work as Advertised?

This morning, I discovered an app called Texie for iOS. The app claims to be able to perform quick text recognition, kind of like the Short Text mode of Seeing AI. It’s free do download, but, in order to perform scans, you must purchase credits, which start at $0.99 for 100 scans. You get a few extra credits with this purchase (I think I received 10 extra, giving me 110.)

The app is a bit misleading, however. There are no instructions when you start it for the first time, only a blank home screen for VoiceOver users. There are tabs across the bottom: Home, Settings, IAP (the screen where you can purchase credits), and Info.

The home tab allows the user to scan. Although blank to VoiceOver users initially, the app will emit beeps when it thinks it’s recognized text. The trick is to find the button that “text found, click screen to read” button. This cannot be found by flicking left and right, and the user must use explore by touch to locate it. If, however, the user turns VoiceOver off, they can tap anywhere on the screen other than the tab bar at the bottom to recognize the text. Once the text starts to read, there is no good way to stop it other than using a two finger double tap to start other media or going to the home screen.

The settings tab allows the user to replay the last scan, change the mode from single to multipage, or clear the current pages. Unfortunately, there is no way to adjust the speech rate or voice.

The IAP tab allows the user to purchase more scan credits. Finally, the info tab explains a little about the app.

In conclusion, I don’t really believe this app, even with its claim to read well written handwriting, is worth the price with the availability of Seeing AI and KNFB Reader. The OCR is not as good as the other two, and it does not automatically read as Seeing AI does. The accessibility is a little iffy, and it uses online OCR, which just isn’ helpful with a slow data or WiFi connection. The app is fairly new, and my hope is that it will continue to improve and find its place among its competitors.

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iA Cast iA DemoCast

#iACast DemoCast 11 – Scanning App Showdown

On this episode of the iA DemoCast, Aleeha demonstrates the following apps for scanning print to digital text as OCR. Find out which apps work the best on different forms of text.

Apps used

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iA Cast iA DemoCast

#iACast DemoCast 9 – Seeing AI: Talking Camera for the Blind.

On this episode of the iA DemoCast, Matt Dierckens demonstrates the new and amazing Seeing AI app from Microsoft. This demos shows how to set up the app and start using it with all of the channels that the app provides.

App Features

  • Short text OCR that updates as you move the camera
  • Document OCR. This channel is much like KNFBReader and Prizmo
  • Product scan which lets you scan a bar code to identify a product.
  • Facial Recognition lets you detect who is in the room and how many faces are in the camera’s viewfinder. It will also attempt to tell you the person’s facial expressions.
  • Scene Beta lets you detect what is in a room or environment. This section is still in beta, so it will continue to improve.

Links

Seeing AI | Talking camera app for those with a visual impairment

Seeing AI: Talking Camera for the Blind on the App Store

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iA Cast

#iACast DemoCast 6: Prizmo Go

In this Demo Cast, Jason demonstrates Prizmo Go, a free app for iOS that allows the user to scan and read text. Download the app by following this link:

Prizmo Go – Instant Text Capture on the App Store

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Prizmo Go – A free OCR Solution for Everyone

One of the first apps that iAccessibility reviewed was an app called Prizmo which would scan an image and convert any text found in that image to digital text that could be copied or opened in another program or that could be read by a screen reader. Now, the makers of Prizmo has released a new app called Prizmo Go which is a free app on the iOS app store. This new app has several features that make it similar to other OCR solutions, but it is completely accessible, and offers text to speech reading of text.

Prizmo Go Features

Prizmo Go lets the user scan an image and convert that image to spoken or readable text. Like other apps, Prizmo Go contains page detection, stabilization, and a field of view report to tell the user how to angle the page and the camera to get the best shot. Once you have taken the image you can have Prizmo Go read out loud any text that was found. This is an amazing feature as it allows for quick scanning and reading of documents. While scanning an image is the app’s main feature, Prizmo Go can also detect text in images from your camera roll, and from other apps through an app extension. Once you scan an image, you can purchase an in app purchase to unlock the export pack to send the scanned text out to other apps.

Prizmo Go compared to Prizmo

So one question you may find yourself asking is why should I get Prizmo Go if I have Prizmo, and the answer may surprise you. While Prizmo Go has all of the same features that come with Prizmo, Prizmo Go provides a quick and easy way to read documents and move on to your next task. Prizmo allows for the storage of multi-page documents locally on your device, or in the cloud with iCloud Drive. This makes Prizmo an extremely powerful app, but does take more time to use. With Prizmo Go, a user can open the app and quickly scan and read a document and send that document to another app without having to pick the type of document, or how to store that document or anything. The app just brings you to the scan interface and lets you scan a page quickly

How does Prizmo and Prizmo Go compare to KNFB Reader?

KNFB Reader has become a huge success in the OCR world whether the user is blind, low vision dyslexic or someone without a disability altogether. Despite this fact, KNFB Reader was designed for the people who are blind and visually impaired and is built around blindness concepts and has been built to serve a certain demographic, and while I think it is great that KNFB Reader is being used by more than just the world’s blind community, I have to really applaud a mainstream company like Creaceed for coming to the table and providing to great solutions to OCR from a mainstream perspective. Prizmo and Prizmo Go are two very accessible apps, and have been so from the start, and while I think KNFB Reader may be slightly more accurate with quicker OCR recognition time, I think that Prizmo and Prizmo Go provide a cheaper solution that can truly do more with your text then what KNFB Reader provides. I also find that the interfaces for Prizmo and Prizmo Go are more modern than that of the KNFB Reader software

Drawbacks to Prizmo and Prizmo Go

As stated previously, Prizmo Go and Prizmo have been seen to not have as good of accuracy as KNFB Reader. The process may take longer to recognize text and you may need to hold the device a certain way for Prizmo Go to detect all of the text. The other drawback is that Prizmo Go is only available for iOS where as KNFB Reader is available for Windows, Android and iOS. It is worth noting though that Prizmo does have a Mac version that costs $50.00

Conclusion

While Prizmo and Prizmo Go have their drawbacks I think that the makers of these apps have brought mainstream OCR to the next level, and have taken a huge step in bringing mainstream OCR to the accessibility world. Prizmo and Prizmo Go will read text aloud, and have extremely good support for VoiceOver. iAccessibility would like to thank Creaked for keeping accessibility in focus throughout these apps.

iAccessibility will also be reviewing Prizmo Go on our Podcast the iA Cast.

Prizmo Go on the App Store

Prizmo Go at Creaceed