The makers of Israel’s Mobileye technology on Tuesday unveiled their latest product, a small wearable camera with artificial intelligence that identifies people you meet and acts as a cross between a personal assistant and a memory enhancer.
The device, known as the OrCam MyMe, was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and follows on from the company’s MyEye 2.0, a product that helps the visually impaired navigate the world.
Speaking to Hadashot TV news, Mobileye and OrCam co-founder Amnon Shashua demonstrated the product, which is worn on a person’s shirt.
The camera uses facial recognition software to identify all the people it sees. If it recognizes the person, it informs the wearer via a smart watch or phone application.
Information on people encountered for the first time is stored and can be saved and categorized by the user later.
“Next time I see you it won’t just tell me who you are, but what your last tweet was,” said Shashua.
The startup was founded in 2010 by Shashua and Ziv Aviram, the founders of auto technology firm Mobileye, which was sold to Intel Corp. in 2017 for a whopping $15 billion.
“The virtual world is rich with information, but in the physical world there is nothing. I see you and all I have is my brain and my memory,” said Shashua, describing the device as part artificial memory, part personal assistant.
“I don’t have anything that could provide another layer over what I get from my brain at that moment. I’m not sure what happens with young people, but I know that from age 40 onward the memory starts to wobble a bit,” he said. “So when someone comes who you haven’t seen in 10 years, for me it would be a great help.”
The MyMe follows on from the MyEye 2.0, which helps the visually impaired navigate the world with a low-cost device and without invasive procedures. Its software uses a high-resolution video camera and smart algorithms that analyze what the camera is seeing, whether faces or text or objects, and reads back the information to a user in real time.
The MyEye product is basically a little camera with a mount attached to a computing device — the size of a smartphone that fits in a pocket — and a personal speaker. The OrCam camera is attached to the frame of a pair of glasses via a magnet, and when the user points to a text or surface, the speaker transforms the image into words and reads them aloud, thus enabling users to “read” newspapers, restaurant menus, or books. The database recognizes words and text from any surface and remembers faces too.
In the future the MyMe will incorporate some of those features.
Shashua dismissed privacy concerns, saying that MyMe does not actually record or take pictures, only making the identification. He also noted that everything remains on the device and is not uploaded to the cloud.
The MyMe is currently being sold on Kickstarter.