A week after the announcement that soccer star Lionel Messi would become the face of the Israeli tech company OrCam, which makes devices that help the visually impaired identify their surroundings, the company won Germany's NRW.INVEST AWARD, becoming the first Israeli company to do so. The award is given annually to four exemplary companies that contribute to the local economy, strengthen innovation impetus and bring new products, services and processes, to both Germany and the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous province in Germany and one of the most important economic centers in the country.
As a part of OrCam's growth trend in Europe, the company is deepening its collaborations with government officials and public bodies in Germany, and in particular the NRW district in the west of the country which is associated with innovation and technology.
The award was presented to OrCam this week at a ceremony attended by Prof. Andreas Pinkwart, Minister of Economic Affairs.
OrCam is currently a leader in the development of computer vision and artificial intelligence-based wearable technologies, designed to provide independence to the blind, visually impaired, people with reading and learning difficulties, the hard-of-hearing and other groups. Germany is considered one of the key countries for OrCam, in view of the comprehensive cooperation with the health insurance companies in the country, which allows full financing of the OrCam MyEye device for the blind and visually impaired in the country.
OrCam's MyEye has the ability to attach to the frame of any set of eyeglasses using a magnetic connector, and can read text gathered from both printed and digital surfaces into the ear of the wearer in real time. Seamless facial recognition improves social situations by letting the user know who that person is walking toward them or sitting in front of them.
The product is available in 25 languages in more than 50 countries around the world.
OrCam was co-founded in 2010 by Amnon Shashua and Zvi Aviram, who also co-founded the self-driving car technology company Mobileye. That same year, Time Magazine included the company's product in its list of the best inventions for 2019.Hillel Fuld contributed to this report.