New technology at MSP helps travelers with visual impairment navigate airport – Story

(KMSP) – New technology has landed at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport, and it is helping individuals with visual impairments browse flight by themselves.

A San Diego-based start-up called Aria introduced its services at MSP on Wednesday, and Greg Stilson, the business’s Director of Item Management, was the very first user. Stilson is almost completely blind.

“A blind person, when they are typically going from point A to point B – that’s their goal – is to get to the destination. Aira puts the self-reliance back in the user’s hands so they are able to go where they wish to go, and they are able to make stops along the way. If something sounds intriguing, go on and stop briefly and inspect it out,” Stilson stated.

The innovation resolves a pair of wise glasses. A small electronic camera is attached to the side of the glasses, and through an app, users are linked by phone to live visual interpreters who see everything they can not.

“I have the ability to not just get to my location, but understand what’s around me, what I desire to return to,” Stilson said. “If I get stuck, let’s state a flight gets canceled or something like that, what restaurants I can consume at or perhaps where to use the washroom … it’s just putting that self-reliance back in my hands.”

Before utilizing Aira, Stilson would need to count on other individuals to assist him browse airports.

“I would have an airport employee assist me to, let’s say, the Delta counter where I would get my boarding pass. Then I would need somebody to walk me to whatever destination I’m attempting to get to,” Stilson stated.

Aira users pay a regular monthly subscription charge starting at $89. The fee includes the glasses.

The service then costs $2 per minute, but the Metropolitan Airports Commission is covering the cost of minutes used at MSP.

“It’s truly about making the experience as accessible and as consumer friendly for all travelers and especially those tourists with special needs,” stated Metropolitan Airports Commission CEO Brian Ryks.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission has actually budgeted $5-thousand a year to cover Aira costs for users. Ryks says they can change that number if more people have an interest in utilizing the technology.


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