Port of Seattle to pilot smart glasses for the blind

19 March 2018 (Last Updated March 19th, 2018 12:38)

The Port of Seattle, in partnership with assistive technology provider Aira, has launched a pilot programme that provides smart glasses to guide the visually impaired through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac).

The Port of Seattle, in partnership with assistive technology provider Aira, has launched a pilot programme that provides smart glasses to guide the visually impaired through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac).

Sea-Tac is believed to be the first airport on the US West Coast to join the Aira Airport Network and use the wearable smart glasses technology.

The port’s pilot programme will cover the cost of any passenger using the Aira service.

“The technology connects the user to a live, human agent that can see the environment around the user in real-time.”

The service links the blind and visually impaired to certified, live agents through smart glasses and a mobile app to navigate every step of the airport: from the curb and check-in area through to the gate.

Port of Seattle Commission president Courtney Gregoire said: “Our airport seeks to meet the needs of all travellers. We are prioritising customer service, innovation investments, and community partnerships to make Sea-Tac Airport more inclusive and the most accessible airport in the US.”

Using smart glasses and a mobile app, the technology connects the user to a live, human agent that can see the environment around the user in real-time.

Subsequently, the agents will act as visual interpreters to complete a number of tasks in the airport, such as viewing a flight information board to finding the queue line at a security checkpoint and verifying their luggage at a baggage carousel.

Aira provides its services based on a subscription model. The service featuring a mobile app, a pair of smart glasses, AT&T data, and by-the-minute access to live, and human agents is offered for a monthly fee.

Sea-Tac Airport will cover the cost of all minutes used by Aira Explorers while they visit the airport. The glasses will be able to use from the garage to the main terminal, and all of the concourses and satellites, without deducting any minutes from their regular plan.