This blog post focuses on two technology-based assistive devices that are designed to help individuals with vision impairments, WayAround and Aira (eye-ruh). These two products accomplish different goals, but both are proving to be of immense help to the individuals who have them.
WayAround is a digital tagging system that allows individuals with vision impairment to place a physical tag on an item in their home. This tag is then scanned with the individual’s phone (without any use of the camera). Then, the individual can dictate notes about the particular item that will be saved on that particular tag. To illustrate, imagine you loved the feel of a particular shirt so much that you bought three in different colors. Well, with WayAround saving information about their color is easier than ever. When you go back to the shirts in your closet you can scan the tag to find out what color shirt you want.
But that isn’t the extent of the uses for WayAround. They recommend using their tags for nutritional facts and expiration dates on food, tagging storage containers to be able to know their contents quickly and easily, and tagging items with directions (like face wash or a drain cleaner) to be able to use them effectively. Having WayAround allows you to quickly access information about any item at any time. Additionally, their tags don’t use batteries and they don’t need charged. The tags even come in four different forms: stickers, buttons, magnets, and clips. That way you have the right tag for anything you might need to remember something about.
While WayAround assists individuals with storing certain information about items around the house or office, Aira is primarily for quickly getting helpful visual information about your environment in real time. Their device is a pair of glasses that are in conjunction with an app to get their “Explorers” (as they call their users) information quickly. The glasses contain a camera, microphone, and speakers. The Explorer puts on their glasses and, when they want to know something about their environment, can contact a live person at Aira who receives the live video feed from the glasses. Then the individual at Aira describes the Explorer’s visual settings in real time, allowing them to choose between different fruits at the supermarket or help their child as they learn to read.
What’s impressive about Aira is the versatility. Explorers can call someone at any time, 24/7, to learn about any environment. Imagine being able to go on a safari, smelling the savannahs and listening to the wonderful sounds of the birds and other animals and then quickly getting in contact with someone who can describe what it all looks like to you as well. But it’s not solely for the adventurous, Aira can help someone browse a local store or watch a fireworks display. Additionally, the use of live people to describe the visual features of an environment allows the two individuals, Explorer and Aira contact, the opportunity to share in an experience. That aspect of preserving the human connection while taking advantage of technology fits right in with us at Disability Cocoon.
Together, WayAround and Aira prove to be a powerhouse duo that works to assist individuals with visual impairments. It goes to show how many different applications there are for simple and effective technological solutions. We at Disability Cocoon hope you’ve found this information helpful and invite you to continue checking up on our blog to stay up to date on the latest developments in assistive technology.