Technology Blog

Back to School – Helping to Make the Transition Easier

Awarding Aira Glasses to College Students

By Chris Penrose, President, Internet of Things Solutions

Heading off to college is an exciting time. But it also can be a little intimidating. You’re leaving your home, family and friends, and maybe even moving to a new state. You need to learn the lay of the land of your campus and make new acquaintances. Not to mention the worry about the course load. Nerve-racking? For some, it can be downright frightening.

Now imagine doing all that with no or low vision. 

Roughly 53% of blind college students reach sophomore year. And less than half of blind students finish school. Not for academic reasons – but because their new environment may not have been designed for universal accessibility.  

That is why in 2017 AT&T, Aira and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) gave Aira smart glasses to 100 students. AT&T funded the innovative back-to-school program, which was managed by the NFB and Aira.

The Aira platform uses smart glasses, AT&T connectivity and Aira’s network of certified agents to help the blind navigate their surroundings.

Watch how the Aira assistive technology, powered by AT&T, helps Veronica navigate around campus. 

We were so encouraged by this success story, that AT&T, Aira and the Perkins School for the Blind, will extend the back-to-school program to the 2018-2019 school-year.

On August 2, we held an event at AT&T headquarters in Dallas where we made the announcement. We presented glasses to:

  • Cricket – Stanford University
  • Veronica – George Mason University
  • Devon – University of North Texas
  • Cooper – Texas A&M

There are more scholarships available. Applications to participate in this year’s program are being accepted on the Aira Back-to-School website now. If you know someone who can benefit from this program, encourage them to apply. As Veronica stated in the video, “Aira can be a game changer.”

At AT&T, we call it IoT for Good. And days like today make me feel good that our connectivity can have such a significant impact on people’s lives.

AT&T has a history of supporting education initiatives. AT&T is leading the future for students, for educators and in technology. With a financial commitment of $400 million, our AT&T Aspire initiative drives student success in school and beyond.

Chris Penrose
Chris Penrose President of Internet of Things Solutions