Aira

Last modified
Monday, December 3, 2018
Category

Description of App

Aira is a visual information service that has been specially designed for people who are blind or low vision. Through augmented reality and artificial intelligence, Aira instantly connects you to a highly-trained, sighted agent that’s dedicated to enhancing your everyday experience.

–– Key Features ––
- Can be used on just your phone, or for an enhanced hands-free experience, use the app with a pair of Aira Smart Glasses
- Connect to an Aira Agent in under 10 seconds
- Achieve enhanced efficiency for completing tasks with access to visual information
- Sign up as a Guest to use the service in specific Aira Access locations such as partner airports or venues
- A range of plans to choose from: choose the one that’s right for your lifestyle
- Plans include cost of data, equipment, equipment insurance, and your monthly minute package
- Organize and locate rides easily by linking your Uber / Lyft accounts to your Aira account
- Access free minutes in a growing network of locations around the country (and soon the world)
- Join a supportive and inspiring community of Aira Explorers

–– Aira at home ––
Sort mail and medications
Color match clothes
Read mom's recipe
Interpret Captcha code
Manage computer tasks
Separate laundry
Read to a child

–– Aira at school ––
Roam the campus
Locate a stadium seat
Lay out an outfit
Select cafeteria items
Read a whiteboard
Read inaccessible print handouts
Find a vacant library cubicle

–– Aira at work ––
Locate the elevator
Navigate the site
Interpret presentation slides
Operate office equipment
Find an office or cubicle
Sort mail and papers

–– Aira on the go ––
Explore your city
Go for a hike
Enjoy the park or zoo
Travel with confidence
Find available gym equipment
Roam historic sites
Check out a museum

–– Questions? ––
Ready to explore but need to know more? Connect with us and start the conversation today.
Phone: +1 800 835 1934
Web: aira.io

–– Thank you ––
To ensure the best service possible, we’re always updating the Aira app with new features and functionality, so make sure you’re running the latest version.

Version

2.17.7

Free or Paid

Free

Apple Watch Support

No

Device(s) App Was Tested On

iPhone

Accessibility Comments

The Aira app is fully VoiceOver accessible without reservations. A text-based communication feature called Aira Messages makes the service accessible to everyone, including deaf-blind explorers.

iOS Version

12.1

VoiceOver Performance

VoiceOver reads all page elements.

Button Labeling

All buttons are clearly labeled.

Usability

The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver and is easy to navigate and use.

Other Comments

While the Aira app is free on the app store, the Aira service is not. Pricing plans start at $29 for basic service. Free guest access is available in some locations and for some tasks, while free promotional minutes are offered for subscribed explorers for other tasks and in other situations. Please visit the company's website for details.

Developer's Twitter Username

@airaio

Recommendations

18 people have recommended this app

Most recently recommended by mhingson 1 month ago

Options

Comments

Yes, Alex. I agree regarding the minutes. I do not see myself using several hours to do something or travel. Perhaps to find a specific building or address. To travel around this is why I have a cane and iPhone with GPS. For cooking I do that without any help not even Bella the cat. I ask for help to her but she mostly says meow. I think it means do it yourself.

Submitted by alex wallis on Tuesday, December 4, 2018

haha, or it could mean feed me first. Seriously I think the concept exploits blind people who are less able and encourages laziness, as to things like navigating airports, I actually think its probably more efficient to deal with staff there rather than portraying this attitude I am blind I must do something without any help even if waiting for local staff to help you is probably quicker in the long run for example navigating security getting on board the plane etc. as lets be honest OK you can ask an aira agent for help finding something in the airport but they won't be as efficient or helpful as local staff. plus I think anyone who wonders around a public space using something like aira just looks a bit of a freak to be honest and stands out more than they would with just a cane.
Plus if your minutes you pay for with aira go to waste because you don't have enough use for all the ones you pay for that is theft in my book, even phone companies are starting to allow people to roll over unused usage.
also have you heard about paul hopkins experience with aira in the UK, it sounds a nightmare and aira don't seem bothered about sorting it, not a great advert for the company.
I know everyone also goes on about live audio description for stuff, but if you think about it minute per minute its like paying for a premium rate phone call.

Alex, Have you ever tried Aira at an airport or to perform very many tasks? How much have you used Aira? Let me address your comments specifically.

haha, or it could mean feed me first. Seriously I think the concept exploits blind people who are less able and encourages laziness, as to things like
navigating airports, I actually think its probably more efficient to deal with staff there rather than portraying this attitude I am blind I must do something
without any help even if waiting for local staff to help you is probably quicker in the long run for example navigating security getting on board the plane
etc.

[[[Michael Hingson]]] Actually, Aira explorers have found overwhelmingly that using Aira to navigate airports is much more efficient, fulfilling and helpful than attempting to work with local airline and airport personnel. I have been traversing airports my entire adult life and NEVER had the challenging experiences using Aira that I encounter with local staff.
First, discussing U.S. airports, many of the staff do not speak english well.
Second, Staff for the most part are not trained how to walk sighted guide and have often crashed me into objects.
Third, staff is not always available in a timely manner. I have, in the past, almost missed flights waiting for staff or walking with staff who do not walk at a pace needed to get me somewhere on time.
Finally, notwithstanding the above, staff members are programmed to get me to flights and do not give me information about what is around me while walking through an airport. I do not easily learn about restaurants and shops, something I may wish to know about for a variety of reasons.

With Aira, I have NONE of the problems I mentioneed above. I walk briskly through airports and often beat sighted flightmates who also are going from one flight to the same next flight. I get to experience the airport on my terms and at my speed.

Keep in mind, Aira is an information source. It does NOT in any way encourage laziness. One can't use Aira as a mobility tool. In conjunction with a cane or a dog, both of which I use efficiently, Aira gives me an incredible amount of data and information I never had access to before.

As for appearances, really? Given the number of sighted people walking around with things sticking out of their ears often not paying attention to what is around them, I'll take Aira any day. I do admit often I am stopped as people do not understand why I appear to be talking to myself when I am actually talking to an agent. The only reason people stop me is that they are not use to a blind person walking, chewing gum and talking on a device at the same time. Sighted people do it, so why should it be different for me? In fact, it should not and is not different except that I am getting invaluable information and I am paying attention ALWAYS to my surroundings as a result.

It is a mindset to use Aira. Aira is changing how we interact with the world, but in a positive way. Again, it is all about getting the visual information we otherwise would not have access to receiving.

as lets be honest OK you can ask an aira agent for help finding something in the airport but they won't be as efficient or helpful as local staff.

[[[Michael Hingson]]] Of course Aira agents will be more efficient. Given the tools they have at their disposal such as airport maps, the ability to see what is close by as well as reasonably far away I will take what an Aira agent offers all the time. Besides, suppose I am at a gate waiting for a flight which won't leave for an hour and I decide to get something to eat or go to the restroom. I will take the speed with which I can perform these tasks with Aira over the alternatives every single time. Not only will I be able to travel mmore efficiently, I also will get more information such as reading menus and learning without even leaving the gate what is up and down the concourse.

Keep in mind that Aira agents are highly trained to describe and provide information according to each Aira explorer's requirements and preferences. I know sighted people who have been around blind people for more than 40 years and who cannot hold a candle to the accuracy and detail of the descriptions provided by an Aira agent.

lus I think anyone who wonders around a public space using something like aira just looks a bit of a freak to be honest and stands out more than they
would with just a cane.

[[[Michael Hingson]]] Your are welcome to believe as you wish, but the evidence based on tens of thousands of agent connections with Aira explorers proves something entirely different.

Plus if your minutes you pay for with aira go to waste because you don't have enough use for all the ones you pay for that is theft in my book, even phone
companies are starting to allow people to roll over unused usage.

[[[Michael Hingson]]] Rollover minutes through phone companies come from the need to address issues around the long-term contracts the companies require you to sign. Aira does not do this.

also have you heard about paul hopkins experience with aira in the UK, it sounds a nightmare and aira don't seem bothered about sorting it, not a great
advert for the company.

[[[Michael Hingson]]] I believe I know who you are talking about. If the person is who I believe it is he and I have corresponded. However, I will not address any particular explorer's situation unless he wishes to talk with me directly. I do find that those who have difficulties can usually have their situations addressed.

I know everyone also goes on about live audio description for stuff, but if you think about it minute per minute its like paying for a premium rate phone
call.

[[[Michael Hingson]]] That is a matter of individual choice. Again, many love the live access. Live Access is being provided as a result of strong demands from explorers. Use it or not as you wish.

You are welcome to your opinion, but please really give Aira a detailed chance and observe what others are encountering with it. I have been using Aira for four years. I certainly can survive without it, but why? The vast amount of information and access I get from using Aira is invaluable beyond compare. There is no other product that permits the level of information access and accuracy afforded by Aira.

Submitted by alex wallis on Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hi Michael, I haven't used aira yet because I haven't visited anywhere that offers aira access yet, and I don't really have any tasks around the house that I need assistance with.
though I plan to try it at some point, as to the minutes not rolling over, effectively users have to guess how many they might need then tough if they don't use them all.
I wonder if the other reason aira doesn't allow for minutes to roll over is because a lot of users would buy a block of minutes, then spend them over a few months and so reduce company income. another thing I haven't been able to find out is if agents are all from the US, or say I am in the UK does that mean I will get a UK agent. as I don't want to have to start using americanisms just to make myself understood, can you point me to the rest room or tell me where the crossing is for the sidewalk etc. are there some in non english speaking countries, I wouldn't want to call up and get agents with thick foreign accents or who weren't actual native english speakers.
also, if aira is so wonderful how come I haven't scene organizations like the rnib promoting it and saying what a wonderful product it is. Sure there has been press attention but there always is with things like this.
I listened to a podcast recently where the glasses were unboxed and from the description they sounded awful and the presenters found it quite funny, and yes I know your going to tell me they look fashionable and stylish but the description in the aira in the real world podcast was far from flattering.
also how does aira protect sensitive information, I know agents have to sign non disclosure agreements, but for example say I got an agent to read me new credit card information how would I be guaranteed that said agent wouldn't copy down my information and misuse it. also, are calls monitored or in any way recorded either for quality assurance or to protect either the user or agent, and in fact what information does aira collect and retain and how does it use any stored information. and in fact can users request copies of information aira holds as I know it keeps an ongoing profile of explorers with notes on preferences and such.

Submitted by techluver on Tuesday, December 4, 2018

My only complaint with the service as it stands now is that the wonderful unlimitted plan is gone. But oh well, o-bla-di, o-bla-da, life goes on. It was nice for a while, but I guess it had to go.
I loved aira as it gave me access to many books that were published without digital or audio editions, something that is not possible anymore (I do not enjoy reading books with synthesized speech). I would scan a book and read it, hense why I say I loved the unlimitted plan.
But do I still use aira? Yes! Maybe not for the same things as someone else, but I still do find it a valuable resource.

Hi Michael, I haven't used Aira yet because I haven't visited anywhere that offers Aira access yet, and I don't really have any tasks around the house
that I need assistance with.

[[[Michael Hingson]]] Again, Aira is all about providing visual information. I would wager that you could find tasks “around the house” or elsewhere. People often feel that they do not need Aira because they have sighted friends or have access to sighted spouses or colleagues and thus don’t require Aira’s capabilities. Typically when I drill down and have discussions with people who express these opinions I find that, as I said in my last post, these people have not adopted nor explored developing the mindset where they try and would eventually use Aira. My wife, for example, loves the fact that I do not have to ask her for assistance especially when she has other projects to do and does not really want to take the time to help at that moment. My choice, as it has always been, is either to push or simply step back and wait for her to be available.

With Aira I no longer need wait. When I am required to perform a task or need information requiring eye sight to help me all I need do is to connect with an Aira agent and do what needs to be done. The convenience and immediate response is enough to prove Aira’s worth. I now do things on my own terms and in my own time.

Yes, there are alternative techniques I can and do use including labeling things in Braille, making sure I put things in particular places, paying special attention to how I organize our refrigerator and so many other things. However, and I cannot emphasize this enough, Aira only provides more information, information I otherwise would not have access to.

though I plan to try it at some point, as to the minutes not rolling over, effectively users have to guess how many they might need then tough if they
don't use them all.

[[[Michael Hingson]]] And so it is with anyone who does not have an unlimited phone plan. However, you are correct as far as it goes. Aira is only starting out. If money were not an issue Aira would cost less and we all would have every little thing we wish from Aira.

Such is not the case. Aira is, in my opinion, the most consumer observant company I have encountered. I have worked in the high tech world in specific and with many other organizations in general for more than 42 years. I have had the opportunity to see Aira working up close and know that every single comment, observation and opinion expressed by all Aira explorers and guests are read. I have never seen this elsewhere.

I wonder if the other reason Aira doesn't allow for minutes to roll over is because a lot of users would buy a block of minutes, then spend them over a
few months and so reduce company income.

[[[Michael Hingson]]] No. Keep in mind that Aira has no long-term contract. You can sign up for Aira on one plan, change your plan whenever you want, and then change again anytime you wish.

another thing I haven't been able to find out is if agents are all from the US, or say I am in the UK does that
mean I will get a UK agent. as I don't want to have to start using Americanisms just to make myself understood, can you point me to the rest room or tell
me where the crossing is for the sidewalk etc. are there some in non-English speaking countries, I wouldn't want to call up and get agents with thick foreign
accents or who weren't actual native English speakers.

[[[Michael Hingson]]]

Aira is slowly expanding. At present all agents are located in the United States. This will change over time for lots of reasons including all the ones you mention. Aira is still very much in a kind of startup mode. Unfortunately, today we live in a world where we all want everything right now. That isn’t going to happen. The process of being able to do business within countries differs widely from country to country. Aira will get to the point where there will be native agents in many countries. Much has to happen for this to be possible. I ask you to be as patient about that as I had to be about Aira becoming a 24X7 service. Aira agent access did go 24 hours a day in August of this year.

also, if Aira is so wonderful how come I haven't seen organizations like the rnib promoting it and saying what a wonderful product it is. Sure there has
been press attention but there always is with things like this.

[[[Michael Hingson]]] Sure. Aira is not yet doing full business in the UK. It is coming. Again, neither you nor I control when Aira can do all that we want.

I listened to a podcast recently where the glasses were unboxed and from the description they sounded awful and the presenters found it quite funny, and
yes I know you’re going to tell me they look fashionable and stylish but the description in the Aira in the real world podcast was far from flattering.

[[[Michael Hingson]]] I have encountered people on both sides of this. Some love the glasses style and some do not. So? Ultimately, I prefer function over style in this case. Sometime in the future I am sure you will be able to obtain an extremely stylish pair of Aira glasses that will permit you to connect with an agent for 12 hours without recharging the glasses internal batteries. These glasses will have within their frame the LTE chip and they will even include bone conduction head phones near the back ends of the frame permitting even better fidelity than the bone conduction headphones of today. They even will have the exact lens tint you wish. Why can’t we have these features today? Batteries are not small enough and so there is not a way at present to make what many of us would say are really cool and the most functional glasses. Even so, in a short time Aira has gone from a company using glasses made by others and which had limited programming capabilities and limited fields of view to the current Horizon glasses that provide much better viewing for agents and thus better information access by us the users.

also how does Aira protect sensitive information, I know agents have to sign non-disclosure agreements, but for example say I got an agent to read me new
credit card information how would I be guaranteed that said agent wouldn't copy down my information and misuse it.

[[[Michael Hingson]]] Go to the Aira web site and examine the security and privacy sections located at the bottom of the home page. Many explorers, me included, do use Aira to read personal and often sensitive documents. We have developed a trust of Aira and the agents.

also, are calls monitored or in any
way recorded either for quality assurance or to protect either the user or agent, and in fact what information does Aira collect and retain and how does
it use any stored information. and in fact can users request copies of information Aira holds as I know it keeps an ongoing profile of explorers with notes
on preferences and such.

[[[Michael Hingson]]] Again, go to those same areas of the Aira home page.

Alex, I appreciate you want to do proper due-diligence concerning Aira. However, the tone I interpret from your comments is one of fierce skepticism and certainty that Aira won’t be worth having around. I ask you to keep an open mind. Doubt, but please do not criticize nor denigrate without facts. The Aira web site, Applevis, several podcasting sites and many other sources have evaluated Aira and found it valuable. Time Magazine even proclaimed that Aira is one of the top 50 inventions of 2018. That is a designation no one can buy. More and ore airports are starting to provide “Aira Access” so that anyone who goes through their facilities can use Aira for free. One such airport is Heathrow which just yesterday officially announced Aira access.

I urge you to be part of the growth rather than being a detractor unless you really have a substantive reason to object to Aira. I have steaked my reputation and visibility on Aira without any doubt or fear. I have come to know the product, the people and the company philosophy. If I could have used Aira on September 11, 2001 to escape from my office in Tower One of the World Trade Center and if I could have used Aira to move out of the area on that day I tell you emphatically that I would have used it. I would have loved to have the information I now know Aira provides. Aira was not available then. I used other alternative techniques and I used the assistance of a sighted colleague and we both used the help of other people in NY City.

Aira is a great product. I trust that it and the company will continue to grow and evolve in a positive way.
Again, while I appreciate your questions I urge you to approach Aira with a healthy curiosity and mindset to explore and learn what Aira can do for you. If you are in the United States I urge you to spend $29/month to sign up for the Aira Introduction plan and really see what Aira is about. If you are on this plan then use your 30 minutes a month. If you are not in the U.S. I am sure there will be options for you soon. That is the best I can offer for now.

Best Regards,

Michael Hingson

The Michael Hingson Group, INC.
"Speaking with Vision"
Michael Hingson, President
(415) 827-4084
info@michaelhingson.com
To order Michael Hingson's new book, Running With Roselle, and check on Michael Hingson's speaking availability for your next event please visit:
www.michaelhingson.com

To purchase your own portrait of Roselle painted by the world's foremost animal artist, Ron Burns, please visit http://www.ronburns.com/roselle

Submitted by Marc on Wednesday, December 5, 2018

It’s very simple…it’s called choice. You can choose to purchase Aira or choose to not purchase Aira. If you would like to offer constructive criticism then please go ahead and do so. The bad mouthing of a product is completely unnecessary on this forum. It does not add value for people that come to this site for information.

Submitted by alex wallis on Wednesday, December 5, 2018

I wasn't bad mouthing the product as you put it, I was expressing skepticism yes but I would like to try it, though I do think even for the minimum plan you have to have a lot of disposable income, as lets say you get the 30 minute plan that would effectively be like your call costing you $1 a minute. as to time magazine saying about how aira is one of the top inventions in 2018 sure you can't buy that coverage, but the press does have a habit of finding out about inventions in the blind world and jumping on them because usually they don't know about alternatives or think they are the first of there kind when they are not. I am sure people find the service useful but I don't plan to try to invent reasons round the house to need it. I do totally get the point about having sighted help on demand though. as I say I do plan to try it but I am in no hurry that's all.

So you're basically saying, that if I want to watch about one movie in a month with audio description and use aira agent to describe it to me, I should be living in sheltered accommodation?
Or if I want to go for a tour in a museum and use aira to describe me the exhibition?
Or go to a different meeting every day?
Or ask aira to monitor my presentation and let me know how the audience reacts
or....
Seriously...

Submitted by alex wallis on Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Not at all, they are all certainly use cases, though dvds mostly have audio description these days, and for me personally I see no value in going round a museum where its all stuff in cases or just pictures, as I find for me personally never having had sight it doesn't matter how well something is described if its in a case and not touchable I see little value in having it described, as lets be honest your not really building an accurate picture of something yourself your absorbing someone elses impression of the visual world. But I do recognize that everyones use cases will be different, my main point is I struggle to see why someone who is very independent would need 300, 400 or more aira minutes that was my main point.
actually I did think of a case where it could be of use something like a social situation such as a party, I am imagining being able to upload pictures of your friends to aira and asking agents to help you locate them within a crowd, as of course electronic methods of finding friends through find my friends on ios will only get you to a rough location. So I am not closed to it being potentially useful, it just has a very high price point. and I resent the idea that you can lose minutes if you don't use them all by the end of a month. I get that your not tied into a fixed contract but I think being able to prepay for a number of minutes to spend as and when a user sees fit should be made possible, but I guess aira relies on a constant monthly stream of income so it wouldn't be in there interests to offer this, I get if your a heavy user paying per month is probably better, but for someone who uses it occasionally even if they spend on the minimum plan for a month then don't use it much during that month that is still a significant amount of money that could be lost at the end of a given month.
It would certainly make me more likely to sign up to aira before I can get to an aira access location if I could pay for minutes then spend them as I see fit. Maybe they could introduce rules where OK you don't have to spend prepaid minutes over a full month but they could expire after two or three months if unused, or you could donate them to someone else, or again just throwing ideas out there, perhaps they could have a central pool of unused minutes and people could be allowed to dip into that pool and get 10 or 15 minutes for free from it in a month.

Submitted by techluver on Thursday, December 6, 2018

I was using it to walk 4-5 miles from one place to another. I figured better to pay $329 for an unlimitted pool of minutes, and walk everywhere, rather than just uber. Ubers add up, walking is free after the $329, and you can basically go unlimitted distances if you're willing to...

Submitted by Abhay on Thursday, December 13, 2018

Aira FTW

I’m another Aira explorer as mentioned in the AppStore description you can use it to help navigating your environment read help you format resumes that kind of assistance can be provided if your doing job related tasks available to explorers their are other access offers as well

Submitted by The Tetris monster on Monday, December 30, 2019

Hi. I am from South Africa. I am going to be attending a mainstream school soon. This app would be extremely handy for that. Unfortunately, both the app and service are not available here. I’m sure Internet service providers such as Vodacom, MTN or Sell c might be willing to partner with this app. Can you please investigate and see if this would be possible?

Submitted by Ahmed on Monday, February 3, 2020

In reply to by techluver

I could see the reason why Aira took away the unlimited plan was because people were calling the agents repeatedly asking you tell me what you can see? Aira than took away that plan

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Actually it was not because of that.

Basically people were sharing the unlimited plan and using about 3000 minutes a month and they were losign money. I still ask aira to discribe stuff if I have the minutes, used it to describe a party I was at and I felt so impowered.

Submitted by Superfreq on Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The app description does not currently reflect the free five minutes that everyone gets, nor does it mention all the new offers related to job searching, QuickBooks, and freedom scientific products.
Additionally, we now have the referral program, as well as a massively expanded list of major access locations.
I am not asking for a list of all of them, but maybe some examples of what could be expected, major airports and museums for instants, could be helpful.
also well worth mentioning is the team viewer integration for PC and mobile, Which opens up an entirely new avenue of assistance.
I believe these are very important points that should be communicated to everyone interested in this app.
clarifying that one does not need to have a hotspot or glasses to use the app now is also vital in my opinion, And I think the price should be changed to free with in app purchases.

Submitted by Justin Philips on Thursday, March 5, 2020

News is abuzz that certain glasses are going to be bricked on 3/31.