Freescale Semiconductor is powering a new application from the Israeli startup, OrCam, that has been designed to help the visually impaired interact more easily with the world around them. The OrCam solution is a compact, eyeglass-mounted device that employs sophisticated computer vision algorithms running on Freescale’s high-performance i.MX 6Quad applications processor to interpret visual inputs and communicate their meaning in real time to the person wearing the device.
The i.MX 6Quad processor provides the OrCam product with the necessary processing power to execute highly advanced computer vision algorithms. The processor’s integrated camera interface reduces the end-product form factor by eliminating the need for additional components, and the chip’s advanced power management capabilities provide exceptional power efficiency for long battery life.
“The i.MX 6Quad processor provides a level of performance well within the power envelope we needed to design a wearable, affordable and intuitive solution for people whose visual impairments prevent them from easily interacting with the world around them,” said Amnon Shashua, co-founder of OrCam and the Sachs professor of computer science at the Hebrew University. “Using this highly advanced i.MX 6Quad device, OrCam is able to help compensate for lost vision and dramatically improve quality of life for the visually impaired.”
The OrCam product is comprised of a small unit mounted on the wearer’s eyeglasses and includes a small camera, microphone and bone conduction headphone. Designed with an intuitive user interface, the wearer simply points at an object or text with his or her finger, and the device then interprets and reads it.
The i.MX 6Quad processor integrates four ARM Cortex-A9 cores running up to 1.2 GHz, delivering the processing performance to handle the massive amounts of data captured by the OrCam product’s visual sensor. This performance allows execution of all processing algorithms and software speech codecs on a single chip. i.MX 6Quad processors support computer vision algorithms that allow OrCam to recognize a broad range of inputs, from the faces of friends who walk into a room, to text in newspapers and books, to transit signs, traffic signals and everyday objects of all sorts.
“This design win underscores Freescale’s role as a provider of embedded intelligence for the fast-growing wearables and intelligent healthcare markets,” said Shmuel Barkan, joint general manager and director of Sales and Marketing for Freescale Israel. “The i.MX 6Quad applications processor is fuelling new categories of applications and, in this instance, is providing the processing power to enable a novel and extremely compelling product that is profoundly transforming the lives of people with visual impairments.”