Aira pilot at Moorfields Hospital extended

Aira technology pilot giving visual assistance to blind and partially sighted patients attending appointments at Moorfields Hospital has been extended.

The trial, due to finish at the end of June, will now run until the end of September

Funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust and free of charge for blind and partially sighted people, the Aira app links visually impaired patients attending appointments at the hospital’s City Road site to a network of trained, professional agents.

It can help people navigate to and around the hospital and aids social distancing by letting them know when someone is approaching, if that person is wearing a mask and if there is directional signage such as spacing guides.

Darren Paskell, Technology Manager at Thomas Pocklington Trust, said: “This is free of charge for blind and partially sighted people to use with their smartphone – enabling them to attend appointments independently.

“As a blind person myself, I am cautious about who is able to see personal information such as my medical records.  Aira’s agents are professionally trained employees and go through a rigorous reference process.  This provides reassurance on confidentiality.”

Aira, which derives its name from Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Remote Assistance (RA), would cover the geographic area in and around the Moorfields Eye Hospital on 162 City Road from Old Street and Old Street station south of the hospital along City Road west of the hospital across to Bath Street on its west side.

Visual interpreting covers a variety of situations from navigation through streets to reading forms. Aira provides this information in an objective manner at the request of the blind or partially sighted person.

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