SPOKANE, Wash. — Television host Dr. Phil welcomed a special guest Monday afternoon who has strong ties to the Spokane community.
Former Army Major Scotty Smiley and his wife, Tiffany, were invited on the show to talk about a life changing device.
Scotty is a veteran whose story of perseverance and hope has inspired countless people. In April 2005, Scotty was on a mission in Iraq and was seriously injured in a suicide car bombing. Scotty woke up about a week-and-a-half later in Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Half of his body was paralyzed and he would be blind for the rest of his life.
The Smileys have a close connection to the Lilac City. Tiffany attended college in Spokane and Scotty worked for Gonzaga University. The family called Spokane home for about five years before moving to the Tri-Cities a year ago to be closer to family.
The couple now travels the country speaking to people about their experiences and overcoming obstacles. They recently took their message to Hollywood to the set of the Dr. Phil show. Last week, Scotty, Tiffany and their three sons Grady, Graham and Baylor flew down to California. They filmed a segment about a new device that allows people with visual impairments to read.
The device is called OrCam MyEye. It is a small device, about the size of your finger, which can be attached to glasses. The device scans text in front of it and reads it out loud. It can identify any type of text, money and even people’s faces. Scotty has been using the device for a year. The couple has partnered with OrCam to help other families get access to the device.
Scotty told Dr. Phil it changed his life. He said it not only helps him work, but it allows him to read to his kids. On the show, he demonstrated how the device works by reading a poem to his 9-year-old son Graham. Tiffany said this was her favorite part of the segment.
"It’s a cool bonding experience that they've had and they just love it,” Tiffany said. “He saw his dad and he holds his dad's hand the whole time.”
Dr. Bryan Wolynski, low vision optometrist and OrCam consultant, accompanied the Smileys on the show. He said the device has impacted the lives of thousands of Americans and even more people about the world.
“This is world’s most advanced wearable artificial vision device,” Wolynski told Dr. Phil.
OrCam MyEye can cost a few thousand dollars. The Department of Veteran Affairs does offer free devices to those who qualify. According to OrCam, if you have VA health coverage and are low vision or legally blind then you should be eligible for an OrCam device. They encourage people to contact their optometrist.
For the next three days, Dr. Phil has a coupon available online to get $400 off a new device.
Tiffany said being on the show was a great experience. They plan to continue to inspire and help people overcome obstacles.
"We hope everyone left inspired and motivated to be better every single day and just be encouraged to live every day to its fullest,” Tiffany said.