New technology helps the visually impaired

A Chicago woman who is blind got the trip of a lifetime to meet international soccer superstar Lionel Messi. But the story doesn’t end there. She was selected to test out some revolutionary technology that helps her see the world in a whole new way.

“I’ve been visually impaired since I was 6 so this has really changed my life,” said Kalari Girtley.

Before the pandemic, she flew to Spain to receive an Orcam MyEye. The tiny computer, about the size of a tube of lipstick, is mounted on the side of eye glasses.

“It’s a wearable assistive technology device. It can read text, identify colors and products,” said Patrick Andrade, the assistant technology manager at The Chicago Lighthouse, where Girtley is employed.

The device allows Girtley to read to her little girl, organize her clothing, read a menu and help her two teenagers with e-learning.

Girtley appeared in a commercial for the technology with Argentina soccer star Lio Messi.

“Oh my God it was magnificent. I was just speechless. Being in the company of someone of that great talent,” said Girtley about meeting Messi.

Girtley was selected because of her personal story. She lost her sight at the age of six. Then, she discovered beep baseball. She says the sport allowed her to run freely and unleash her competitive nature.

The Lighthouse has outfitted eighteen staff members with the OrCam MyEye to test its efficiency. The hope is that one day it will be covered by insurance.

The OrCam MyEye costs $4,200.

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