Thousands of blind and visually impaired people are unable to vote in elections unassisted. That was a problem for the 100,000 visually impaired Israeli citizens eligible to vote in the April 9 elections. Jerusalem startup, Orcam, which creates devices for them, thought that having to be helped to vote wasn’t good enough. Its agency, GITAM BBDO, thought that the fact that most blind people are not exposed to the latest technological devices wasn’t good enough. But it’s very difficult to reach them.
Elections are widely covered. They grab attention.
Orcam’s product, MyEye, had been developed to enable visually impaired people to “read” newspapers, restaurant menus or books. The artificial vision wireless product is basically a little camera with a mount attached to a computing device, weighing less than an ounce and the size of a finger, with a personal speaker on the other end. When the OrCam camera is attached to the frame of a pair of glasses, users can point to text on any surface, and the speaker transforms the image into words and reads them out. That way, users can “read” newspapers, restaurant menus or books.
At the April elections, MyEye allowed the visually impaired to read ballot papers and vote without the need of an escort for the first time ever.
The company partnered with the Central Elections Committee and the Center for the Blind in Israel to implement the project. OrCam’s MyEye was chosen after a tender was issued two years ago to find accessibility technologies for the elections. The polling stations were selected so they could serve Jewish, Arab and ultra-Orthodox citizens.
“The device will instruct the users and read them what is written on the ballot papers, so they can identify the candidate they want,” explained Ziv Aviram. The initiative is “the first of its kind in the world.”
There are 24,000 blind citizens in Israel. 22,000 are eligible to vote. Another 100,000 are visually impaired. Voters who are blind or visually impaired will now be able to vote in two ways: at a regular polling station with an escort or at one of the polling stations in the pilot, using the device or their escort.
Advertising Agency: GITAM BBDO Tel Aviv
Chief Creative Officer: Eran Nir
VP Creative: Eddie Gartsman
Art Director: Amir Assayag
Copywriter: Chen Federing
Chairman: Ido Har-Tuv
CO-Chief Executive Officer: Yuval Vaingest
Chief Executive Officer BBDO IM: Omri Harush
VP BBDO IM: David Anolik
VP Strategy: Guy Vaingest