Local airports rolls out new technology to help visually impaired

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CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Local airports want to make it easier for people who are blind or visually impaired. The NFTA unveiled new technology at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport Wednesday. The technology is through a company called Aira.

In order to use it, a person can download the Aira app to their smart phone and they set up an account before heading to the airport. When they get there, they call through the app and they’ll be connected with a trained agent right away.

The visually impaired person will put on a special pair of glasses, which takes live video. Those glasses and maps will allow the agent to virtually guide them through the airport.

Sassy Outwater-Wright, who’s been blind most of her life, says Aira gives her more independence when flying.

“It doesn’t replace my cane or a dog or any other mobility tool, but it is an information gathering tool that just enables me to fly through airports like any other traveler and that is a game changer for me,” said Sassy Outwater-Wright.

If a person is looking to use the glasses, they’ll have to order them through the Aira website. Those aren’t available at the airport.

The NFTA says it hopes to expand this technology to Buffalo’s Metro Rail, although there’s no time frame just yet. For more information on Aira, click here.

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