Smartphone App For Limited Vision Tested

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is currently one of several test sites within the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) for AIRA, the new smartphone app that visitors with limited vision can download and use at the Museum.

What precisely is AIRA?  AIRA is a phone app that allows people who have low vision or are blind to connect to a trained professional agent who will describe what they are seeing.  It uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality to connect people in real time to remotely located professional agents, who deliver instant access to information and help completing such tasks as navigating health care facilities, using public transportation and reading prescription labels. Blind and low vision people can use AIRA for free through AIRA Access.

The PHMC has been working with the Bureau of Blindness & Visual Services of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry as part of its 21st Century Museums initiative. AIRA is one of the ways in which the agency is incorporating technology into daily Museum operations in an effort to better serve underserved guests.

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania has already been geo-fenced for this program, which technically went online June 1, so the Museum is already set up to allow the AIRA app to work for guests who have it.  The other participating PHMC test sites are the Erie Maritime Museum, Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania Military Museum, Landis Valley Museum and the State Museum of Pennsylvania.