Aira Integrates with Bose to Bring Best of Audio AR Technologies to the Blind and Low Vision

AUSTIN, TEXAS March 10, 2019 – Today, at one of the biggest interactive technology shows in the world, South by Southwest (SXSW), we announced our collaboration with Bose, an organization best known for their innovative technology and quality audio experiences.

Every day, we receive more visual information than we can possibly take in and understand. So, Aira has partnered with Bose to create a full-stack solution that cuts through all the visual noise by delivering information through audio.

Through this collaboration, we have brought the best parts of Aira’s and Bose’s augmented reality technology together to create a new, powerful tool for those who are blind or have low vision.

People who are blind or have low vision undergo specialized training to learn skills to conduct tasks that many sighted people take for granted, such as safely walking from one point to another. These are known as Orientation & Mobility (O&M) skills, and one key aspect of O&M is learning how to use sound as a guide for where you are and what possible obstructions or dangers may be around you.

Bose Frames are excellent because they provide the best audio quality without removing a person from the world of sound they live in. So, when you couple this with Aira’s remote assistance technology – where a professional human agent uses an AI-powered dashboard to view video from a blind person’s smartphone (as well as other key metrics such as GPS location) to provide visual information – you have a truly powerful combination. A combination that not only fills the visual information gap that those who are blind or have low vision experience, but that also works perfectly in tandem with O&M skills.

The Bose Frames also come with inertial measurement units (IMUs) built in, which provides agents with highly-accurate information on the directional context of a person out in the world – yet another enhancement that will augment a blind or low-vision person’s life even further.

“Aira is all about creating new audio experiences without needing to rely on sight. Our integration with Bose pushes the concept of Audio AR to create a new and beautiful way to experience the world, thanks to the Bose Frames and the real-time context of Aira’s consumers” said Suman Kanuganti, CEO and Co-Founder of Aira.

This technology has obvious applications outside of the blind and low-vision community, however, it is this community that stands to benefit the most from it. We are incredibly excited for what the future holds as Aira and Bose work together to break down the barriers to accessibility, together.

Aira Director of Product, Greg Stilson, wearing Bose Glasses and a shirt with the Aira logo in front of a stage with a background that reads “Bose AR” at SXSW 2019.

Picture description: Aira Director of Product, Greg Stilson, wearing Bose Glasses and a shirt with the Aira logo in front of a stage with a background that reads “Bose AR” at SXSW 2019.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the new update available to Explorers?

Bluetooth access is available - more audio AR features will be available in Aira app - coming soon

How does it work?

People who own Bose frames today can pair their phone and use with Aira app for the audio. Specific features leveraging the sensors in the Bose frames and integrations are currently under testing and development and will be available in the Aira app sometime later this year.

Where do I get these glasses?

Aira does not sell these glasses and it will be all part of Bose.

What did Aira and Bose announce today on March 10, 2019?

Aira and Bose have announced a collaboration that has brought the fastest-growing blindness technology to Bose’s innovative new Frames. We’re excited that these two cutting-edge brands are working together.

What are Bose Frames?

Bose Frames are a pair of augmented reality glasses that deliver the kind of crisp, clear audio Bose is famous for. They also contain IMU sensors.

What are the immediate benefits of this partnership?

Explorers can use Bose Frames with Aira today. Our Explorers will love them because they can hear an Aira agent with remarkable clarity, without having their ears obstructed. This gives Explorers uninhibited access to environmental sounds while being able to hear an agent even in the most difficult environment.

Do I need any special update to my Aira app to use Bose Frames?

No. The present Aira app for iOS and Android works beautifully with Bose Frames for communicating with an agent, since the Bose Frames display themselves as a standard Bluetooth audio device. Explorers can buy a pair of Bose Frames and start using them with Aira today.

Are there more advanced features coming?

Our engineers are working in the lab to take advantage of the augmented reality sensors in Bose Frames. We anticipate that these will ultimately allow an Explorer to get positional information. For example, an agent may sound like they are coming slightly from the left when it is necessary to take a left turn to reach a certain destination. Positional information will also be conveyed to an agent to better assist with travel. These new, ground-breaking features are expected later in the year in an Aira app update that will be free to download.

Will Bose Frames replace Horizon?

No, they do different things. Horizon provides a video feed thanks to the camera located in the centre of the glasses. Bose Frames currently do not contain a camera. When wearing Bose Frames, Explorers will use the camera built into the smartphone with which the Bose Frames are paired, in order to send video to an Aira agent.

Can I buy Bose Frames from Aira?

No, but they are widely available at many stores. An Aira agent would be pleased to assist you to locate a store close to you, travel to the store, and make the purchase.