How VR can revolutionize the experience of people with hearing loss? Deaf and hard of hearing people have always found it difficult to access content that the average person can read and understand. While captions and audio descriptions can help with this, they can also create distance by artificially adding to the screen.
The contribution of virtual reality experiences is to enhance their understanding while allowing individuals with hearing impairments to immerse themselves in the scene. Here is how some recent VR inventions adopt devices specific to this audience.
Improve access to 360 ° video experiences
With virtual reality new more interactive video players are coming, too, where the user can view content in 360 °. These devices are more and more compatible with subtitle options natively included in applications.
VR players from Facebook, YouTube or Vimeo, for example, include options for displaying closed captions. But their positioning is fixed and their style defined by default and fairly standard.
Media and content producers such as the BBC or the New York Times also design integrated solutions, but adding them natively to their audiovisual creations. Their ad-hoc reader then depends on the goodwill of the producers.
Some video players try to make these subtitles more accessible.
ImAc player, the natively included player for MAC users, bundles all essential accessibility features (voice control, contrast play, and additional visual cues). But it also allows a different subtitle format, which appears on the speaker, with an arrow that indicates its location.
These possibilities are very interesting for the future of accessibility in VR. All they need is faster and better captioning technology.
-Closed-captioning glasses for cinema and theater- VR glasses & hearing loss
VR glasses & hearing loss – VR can also have an impact on real-world experiences
Sony, for example, has been developing subtitling glasses for a number of years, which displays the subtitles directly in front of the viewer’s eyes. Aimed at British cinemas, few have yet installed this device, but it seems useful for low cost (we do have 3D glasses after all). Apparently, the generation and synchronization and automatic voice / text is not yet available on this kind of models. Script data must be programmed into the device in advance. But this innovation is likely to emerge faster than expected.
Theaters and opera houses have also taken an interest in this subject, investing in this same type of technology. The Royal and National Theater in London have entered into a partnership with Epson and Accenture to create smart and accessible glasses. The difference between these glasses and those from Sony is that they can transcribe and translate in real time the auditory signals of a scene or an actor. These devices have voice recognition technology that makes transcription possible under all circumstances. Hearing impaired or visually impaired spectators then only have to squint in order to enjoy the show. Théâtre in Paris also offers these facilities to Parisian establishments for the benefit of as many people as possible.
VR glasses & hearing loss – VR is therefore only within reach and eyesight, if not within earshot.
Swiss Tomato Virtual Reality Development in Switzerland will be happy to guide you in this constantly renewing world of virtuality. Call us or drop us a message with your new idea!