Technology Aids Visually-Impaired Community Amid Social Distancing Challenges

Thursday, December 3rd 2020, 5:18 pm
By: Storme Jones

COVID-19 and social distancing are providing additional challenges to people with a visual impairment. For the visually impaired and blind community, touch is a major part of navigating and reading.

“For someone who is visually impaired, living by myself, it can be challenging,” Amir Ghahremani said.

He works at NewView Oklahoma, the state’s largest employer of people who are blind and visually impaired. To help overcome obstacles and limitations of COVID-19, NewView is connecting employees with technology. 

“Some of the folks that come into our clinic here, they just lost their vision, but they don’t know how many apps are available out there, because they think blindness equals end of the world,” Ghahremani said. “When they come here, we introduce them to all these cool gadgets and apps and different technology.”

He uses a visual interpreter application called Aira through his cellphone camera.

“I could just aim the camera towards you, and I could follow you if you tried to lead me to a room or to somewhere. That agent on the phone could tell me go to your right go to your left you’re about to make a turn,” Ghahremani said. “Essentially they become your eyes for anything.”

He said, in a way, the pandemic has actually brought people together.

“The people who have always kind of been in the distance before COVID now we are more connected, and we always check on each other more than ever,” Ghahremani said.