OrCam changes the life of Bendigo's Lloyd Cameron

It's a piece of technology that changed a man’s life.

When Lloyd Cameron lost his sight five years ago, it forced him to step away from his heavy involvement in the community.

For years, he was frustrated and depressed.

Twelve months ago, he began to use a revolutionary piece of assistive technology.

Called the ‘OrCam’ it is a small camera attached to his glasses, which interprets visual data – such as text, faces, money, and even colours – and reads it aloud to him.

With this, Mr Cameron’s life has turned around. 

He can now go to a restaurant without his wife having to read the menu aloud, he can identify different denominations of money, and when he’s out and about, he can find the toilets.

The ability to read printed material, emails and text messages has made the most difference.

Thanks to this, Mr Cameron is now the president of the Veteran Vintage and Classic Car Club of Bendigo.

That his OrCam allows him to read printed material means he can now run a club meeting.

“I can stand up in front of them and actually run that meeting off an agenda sheet,” he said.

“People know I’m vision impaired, but I think I come across as not vision impaired.”

Now aged 72, Mr Cameron lost his vision five years ago.

He had been deeply involved in a wide range of community organisations, but found he had to step back from these.

I’m still a very fit and active man, I’m just vision impaired.

Lloyd Cameron

His OrCam has given him confidence to step back into community life.

“I had to get back and involve myself with people again,” he said.

“When you get into this situation, you do go into a corner, you do spend time thinking with yourself ‘Why am I like this? Why did it happen to me?’

“I’m still a very fit and active man, I’m just vision impaired.”

Even with an OrCam, Mr Cameron can’t see the vintage cars. However, he can still appreciate their charms. 

After 55 years as a lover of old cars, he can see it in his mind. And a few little descriptors, give him the complete picture.

“You can nearly name any of those old vintage cars and all of a sudden I can picture what those vehicles are,” he said.

But in many ways, it’s not about the cars. For Mr Cameron, his involvement represents a turning point in what have been a tough few years.

He’s deeply grateful for the members, who cared about him along the way.

“I believe they’re very passionate about people,” he said.

“The way that they’ve supported me and looked after and encouraged me.

“They're a great team, and they’re the backing of everything.”

The OrCam, and other assistive technologies will be demonstrated at an upcoming tech expo from Vision Australia in Bendigo.

Having a vision issue, that's not going to stop me anyway, you’ve got to live beyond that.

Lloyd Cameron

“Having a vision issue, that's not going to stop me anyway, you’ve got to live beyond that,” he said.

“There’s nothing I can do about it, it’s the people around you that make your life enjoyable, and full credit to Vision Australia because they were the ones that involved me.”

The OrCam is now so much a part of Mr Cameron’s life, that he takes it for granted.

He believes it has given him back his sighted capacity.

“I feel that it’s changed my life back, I’ve got over it all now,” he said 

“I’ve just accepted everything, and I just believe that I’m no different to everyone else.”