Texas Tech becomes first university in Texas to offer augmented reality service to visually impaired students

Texas Tech becomes first university in Texas to offer augmented reality service to visually impaired students

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Texas Tech University’s Student Disability Services has partnered with software company Aira to provide an augmented reality service to students with visual impairments.

The partnership will allow anyone on-campus to access the Aira mobile app, free of charge.

With the touch of a button, the app connects each user to a mobility and orientation specialist who will help them navigate through their environment.

The specialist is given instant access to a user’s surroundings through their smartphone camera, allowing them to see what a user may not be able to, and relay that information back to them in real time.

Larry Phillippe, the director of Student Disability Services at Texas Tech, says the immediacy of this service is what will really make a difference for visually impaired students on-campus.

“What makes this so unique is that the student can get all of the information in real time. For example, they don’t have to go up and try to find the braille on the listing of the room number, they can just turn and use the phone and their specialist can tell them they’re at room number 105,” Phillippe said.

Texas Tech is one of very few universities implementing this technology on-campus and the only university in Texas to offer the Aira app to students for free.

Phillippe says this service just demonstrates Texas Tech’s priority to make the campus a more inclusive environment, that meets the needs of each student with a disability.

“They shouldn’t be changing to fit our environment, we should be creating an environment that fits everyone including them and that’s what we’re trying to do with this,” Phillippe said.

The Aira technology will be fully accessible and free of charge to anyone on Texas Tech’s campus, regardless of if they are working, studying, or just visiting.

For more information about these services, visit the Aria website.

For more information about disability services and additional resources on Texas Tech’s campus, visit the Student Disability Services website.

Copyright 2019 KCBD. All rights reserved.