BOSTON — A local college freshman who has been blind since birth is the first student in New England to receive navigational glasses.
Using a live streaming camera and a special cell phone app, the Google Glass allows someone else to act as his eyes.
Cullen Gallagher, a freshman at Eastern Nazarene College, is wearing a pair of ‘smart glasses.’ It’s a technology developed by the company AIRA along with AT&T.
A man named Peter is an AIRA employee working in California. He’s on the other end of the phone with Gallagher, guiding him through his day to day life.
Peter is one of a number of individuals trained to help the visually impaired navigate the world.
Cullen attended Perkins School for the Blind until moving on to Nazarene. He told Boston 25 News being in a new environment hasn’t been easy.
“If you can't see perfectly, it's even more challenging,” Gallagher said. “You don't know where the steps are, where the elevators, the bathrooms, that kind of stuff.”
Gallagher learned about AIRA last year and submitted an essay to the company describing how a pair of their glasses could change his life. Weeks ago, he received an email stating the company selected him as one of 100 students in the nation to receive a pair.
“It's definitely made a difference, even making me feel more comfortable knowing I have the glasses so that I can go out there and do these things,” said Gallagher.
Cullen hopes to have a career in assistive technology, the industry behind these glasses. He says he hopes to take this technology one step further, citing his passion for music as his inspiration.
“If I could look at that sheet music like everyone else, in some way that's accessible, that would be huge,” he said.
Gallagher says his more immediate task is to take the T into Cambridge and having AIRA help guide him to his National Federation of the Blind Chapter meetings.
Cox Media Group