OrCam, hearing aid firm Starkey to provide joint visual & hearing devices

OrCam, an Israeli maker of devices to assist the visually impaired, says the team-up will provide a holistic solution for those with vision and hearing loss to be more independent

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

The OrCam MyEye device fitted onto a pair of glasses (OrCam)
The OrCam MyEye device fitted onto a pair of glasses (OrCam)

Israel’s OrCam, a maker of devices to assist the blind and visually impaired, is joining forces with US hearing-aid firm Starkey, to integrate their technologies and help those suffering from both hearing and vision loss.

The result of this collaboration is a single solution that pairs Starkey’s Livio Edge artificial intelligence-based hearing aids with the wearable OrCam MyEye devices via a wireless connection, providing both hearing enhancement and audio communication of the visual world to a user at the same time, the two firms said.

“Livio AI transformed hearing aids into multipurpose, connected health devices with integrated sensors and artificial intelligence,” said Starkey chief technology officer Achin Bhowmik in the statement. “By using AI, we’re bridging the gap between a patient’s hearing health and their overall health and wellness. This partnership with the OrCam MyEye device allows us to achieve even greater success in our quest to help people live happier and healthier lives by enhancing and augmenting human perception and cognition with advanced technology.”

Starkey’s Livio Edge AI hearing aids combine sound quality and sound processing for listening environments that are challenging. With a double tap by users, the device’s inbuilt AI system conducts an analysis of the acoustic environment and makes necessary adjustments immediately.

OrCam’s MyEye is a finger-sized device that attaches to any pair of eyeglasses. Using artificial intelligence software, the device is able to read printed and digital text out loud, but discreetly, from any surface in real time. The device also recognizes people’s faces, as well as identifies consumer products, colors and money notes.

When paired to a Livio Edge AI hearing aid, the audio from OrCam MyEye is streamed wirelessly to the hearing aid.

“People who have both vision and hearing loss are often unable to find solutions that effectively address both of these limitations,” said OrCam’s Co-CEO and co-founder Amnon Shashua in the statement. “This holistic technological approach provides the ability for those with both vision and hearing loss to access the world more independently.”

OrCam was founded in 2010 by Shashua and Ziv Aviram, who also founded Mobileye, a maker of self-driving technologies that was bought by Intel Corp. in 2017 for $15 billion.

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