Incredible Aira technology helps blind people navigate Wellington Airport

Wellington Airport is offering the blind and visually-impaired free access to an app that provides users with detailed, real-time information about their environment.

Jonathan Mosen has been blind since birth and says Aira is the first technology that's ever made him cry. 

"I've used a lot of technology and I honestly think that Aira is the most significant thing to happen to blind people since braille," Mr Mosen told Newshub. 

The free service at the airport can be used either via Aira glasses or an app on a smartphone.  

Users hold their camera out in front of them. It connects to a trained agent in the US, who describes in detail what they see.

"Aira will guide me to where the check-in for my airline is. I'll get the boarding pass and the Aira agent will tell me where my gate is because I hold it up to the camera," Mr Mosen said. 

It will also provide information about any delays, and gives audible access to all the visual information a blind person would otherwise miss out on.

The $800 glasses can also be used on their own.

"Eighty percent of people go blind later in life, over the age of 65, and many of those struggles with smartphones," Mr Mosen said. 

Aira can also be used elsewhere, by subscribing, in much the same way as subscribing to a phone plan.

"I've used it to shop independently, to help design Christmas cards, [and] to identify the baked beans from the peaches," Mr Mosen said. 

The Blind Foundation says there are potentially 30,000 New Zealanders who could benefit from using Aira, as well as international visitors using the airport.

The Foundation estimates less than 10 percent of information available to the general public is available to those who have lost their sight.