Innovation of the Week

These tricked out glasses help blind people 'borrow' eyesight

Meet Aira

A woman using an Aira headset.

A California startup has created smart glasses that let blind users "borrow the eyesight" of those who can see, said Arielle Pardes at Wired. Aira headsets consist of "tricked out Google Glasses" that beam a visually impaired user's field of vision to a remote Aira agent, who describes the user's environment through smartphone-connected earbuds. So far, the 400 subscribers to the paid service mostly use it for "help with ordinary tasks," like reading a menu at a restaurant, navigating the grocery store, or checking the expiration date on food in the fridge. "One woman regularly calls in to read comic books out loud to her son"; another user relied on Aira for help running the Boston Marathon.

Courtesy Image

Aira, which charges $199 for 400 minutes of agents' time a month, plans to use AI-powered responses in the future to help clients with sensitive situations, like when doing finances or using the bathroom.

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