Technology to help those with visual impairments navigate Green Bay Austin Straubel Airport

Local News

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) Travel can be tough for those with visual impairments, especially if it means navigating an airport.  Which is why Green Bay Austin Straubel Airport is offering free access to new cutting-edge technology.

Imagine you’re visually impaired and you’re trying to get through an airport. What the sighted take for granted those facing this reality may find frustrating.

“If you’re trying to walk through an airport and you can’t see it, getting around it can be difficult,” said Susan Levitte of Austin Straubel Airport.

Which is why since January Brown County’s Austin Straubel Airport has been offering travelers with vision impairments free access to a service called AIRA, that provides a helping hand.  

“It’s a service that those who have limited visibility or are blind can use this app to connect to a live individual,” said Airport Director Marty Piette

“They are connected to a live person on the other end  that is able to see and help them navigate through an airport,” Levitte said.

Users of the smartphone app or smart glasses AIRA sells are called Explorers. Explorers subscribe to the service and buy minutes to connect with a trained professional who through device cameras can see where they are and act as their guides.  But at Austin Straubel those costs are now covered.

“They are paying for minutes through AIRA. What we’ve done is partnered through AIRA to provide those minutes for free,” Piette said. It’s just another amenity to make the airport more accessible.

A service that more airports across the state and the nation are starting to embrace. 

I think Madison and Milwaukee both have service. They are doing the same arrangements where they are providing the minutes for free, Piette said.

A cost Brown County is happy to cover to improve accessibility for all here at Austin Straubel Airport.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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