AT&T*, Aira and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) are hoping to make the transition to college easier for 100 blind students by giving them Aira smart glasses. AT&T is funding the innovative back-to-school program, which is managed by the NFB and Aira.
The Aira platform uses smart glasses, AT&T connectivity and Aira’s network of certified agents to help the blind navigate their surroundings.
The agents give Aira customers, known as explorers, visual information. The agents can “see” from the explorer’s perspective using a dashboard with video, sensors and other data in near real-time.
Just like for any freshman student, the first weeks of college can be daunting for blind students trying to navigate a new environment. With Aira glasses, blind students can do everyday tasks and take on new challenges.
For example, student explorers are using Aira to perform self-guided tours of campuses to find the library, gym, student center and classrooms, while discovering new things along the way.
The Aira agents are also assisting the explorers with navigating places like the college cafeteria. Agents help with common tasks like selecting food, finding the shortest line to pay and finding an open seat. They’ll also assist by describing the images from textbooks and reading content on white boards in classrooms.
As they interact with others, agents can describe the experience. They’ll let the explorer know things like if the person is smiling and what they’re wearing. It’s all about heightening the experience for the explorer.
“Connectivity underlies everything we do. When coupled with Internet of Things technology, connectivity has the power to positively impact our lives and shape our experiences,” said Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO, AT&T Business. “We’re excited to team with Aira and the National Federation of the Blind to help make this time more manageable and memorable for participating students. It’s another great example of IoT for Good.”
“The National Federation of the Blind is committed to equal education for blind college students. Much of our effort goes to making sure this becomes a reality,” said Mark A. Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind. “Aira provides a blind student with another tool for accessing information. It augments the information we get from our other senses, but doesn’t prevent us from using our blindness skills and independent judgment. We believe it’s a useful technology and are pleased to make it available to blind students.”
For more information about Aira, go to aira.io.
For more information about how AT&T is using IoT for Good, go to att.com/iot.