Smart glasses have been around for a while and we have seen it being used in the entertainment industry. It is busy taking the world by storm and it can be integrated with almost any of our daily activities. One company, however, has found a more practical purpose for these smart glasses that can help blind people with navigation. This is a breakthrough innovation that shows that augmented reality technology can reach people across all spheres. Smart glasses can be used for much more than just entertainment.

Kevan Worley of Worley Enterprises is a blind vendor and past-president of the National Association of Blind Merchants. He recently blew BLAST-goers away by presenting Aira, a revolutionary technology in the form of smart glasses that can assist blind vendors in managing their businesses. Blind vendors can use this technology in vending their businesses as well as in their personal lives to experience their surroundings like never before.

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Aira offers real-time data to be transferred from the blind user to a centre where wearers will be connected with agents. This network of live agents can then see what the blind person “views” at that exact moment. The process is done through smart glasses that are equipped with a tiny camera. The camera is then paired with an app on the blind person’s phone and an augmented-reality dashboard. It requires very little effort or management from the blind person which is why it will work so well for people who have vision impairments.

Users can call live agents with a simple tap of the app. The agent then acts as a real-time interpreter to assist the wearer to complete a range of daily tasks and activities that would normally be difficult for them to manage on their own like filling vending machines, inventorying products, crossing a busy street, and recognizing faces.

During BLAST’s opening meeting, Worley demonstrated the technology by calling a live agent from the crowd. The agent was able to describe exactly what he saw in detail – a ballroom filled with people sitting at tables. He could say where the aisles and doors were located and he could even say that the door had push handles. This is the type of experience that blind wearers of Aira will be able to have for themselves.

Aira is sold as a monthly subscription service. Worley took part in a beta test of the technology when it first started being produced. The service was also available for blind vendors to test throughout the conference. Worley continued praising how effective and life-changing the technology will be for blind people. Agents will tell blind wearers when they are online and they will be able to carry out the tasks given to them. They will even be able to carry out online orders like when the wearers want to order a taxi or an Uber. This will give blind wearers more freedom in their working environment and at home.

November 4, 2017