CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Jorge Rivas and his pal, Anthony Arriaga – who are both visually impaired – recently walked Chula Vista’s Third Avenue Village area Tuesday with an extra set of eyes. The assistance came thanks to an app called Aira - which connects the blind and visually impaired to a person who uses the customer’s cellphone camera to safely guide them in public areas.
Our News 8 photographer walked into a pole while shooting video of Jorge and Anthony. They both laughed saying they used to do that all the time before using the app.
“They tell me move left to avoid a pole or sign and they bring me straight to a door,” said Jorge. “I don’t run into windows - straight to the door.”
Aira is a monthly pay subscription service, but the city of Chula Vista teamed up with the Third Avenue Village Association and Aira to offer the service for free in and around the area and near the senior center.
“As we become an aging population, having impaired vision is sometimes part of the aging process and we want to make sure everyone can live their life to the fullest,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas.
Aira, which is a San Diego-based start-up, can also help customers call and locate rideshare cars like Uber and Lyft.