On Wednesday, Dec. 18th Mayor Jackie Biskupski will join with members of the blind and low-vision community to celebrate the addition of the AIRA — Artificial Intelligence Remote Assistant — service across the City’s downtown civic campus, including the Salt Lake City & County Building, Public Safety Building, Main Library and both Library and Washington squares.
Using cell phones or glasses equipped with a camera linked to a smart phone and GPS mapping, AIRA technology connects blind and low-vision individuals with trained assistants who can see a location in real time and then help users navigate their surroundings.
The service seeks to increase both the safety and independence of those with visual impairments. The service is available through a free phone app.
“Everyone in our community is entitled to access the functions of government in an efficient manner and finding solutions to allow for this has been central to our work of building a City for everyone” said Mayor Biskupski. “It’s wonderful that we are able to use advances in technology, like AIRA, to create more opportunities for members of the blind and low-vision community—a trend I hope continues in the future.”
“The service will help blind and low-vision individuals to fully participate in civic life and events,” Everette Bacon, Field Services Coordinator for Utah Services for the Blind and Low Vision.
“I am so excited to be able to utilize AIRA when attending events like the Utah Arts Festival or new exhibits at the Library,” he said. “I’m grateful that Mayor Biskupski and her team have worked to increase services for our community.”
AIRA service became available the Salt Lake City International Airport earlier this year and has been widely used, with great reviews.
The contract between AIRA and the City allows for unlimited use of the service on the downtown civic campus.