Japanese group develops new accessible cinema technology

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Wednesday, 12 November 2014 10:10am

Japan’s Media Access Support Center (MASC) has developed a new glasses system to provide closed captions and audio description of movies for people with hearing and vision impairments.

Moverio BT-200 Glasses and control unit

Spurred on by new discrimination legislation as well as the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games that will be held in Tokyo, the developers are fine tuning the technology for release to the mass market.

MASC unveiled their latest technology during last month’s Tokyo International Film Festival, where local movie Maiko wa Lady could be enjoyed through either Seiko Epson’s Moverio or Olympus’s Meg glasses. Both devices function in the same manner, by connection to an Android device and accessing the caption or audio description data via an app. The app, called UDCast, synchronises caption display and audio description transmission through the movie’s soundtrack. Captions ‘float’ in front of the glasses and audio description is received in an earpiece.

From April 2016 Japan’s first disability discrimination law, the Law to Promote Elimination of Discrimination Based on Disability, will come into effect. The law has potential to affect cinemas that do not provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.

Other emerging cinema access technologies are outlined in our Technologies in Development webpage.

The full story on the MASC accessible cinema development can be read in the Japan Times.

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