For people who are hearing-impaired, going to the movies can be a difficult and often disappointing experience. While some movie theaters show special screenings of movies with subtitles, they are either hard to find, at inconvenient times, or only for limited movies. The majority of the public prefer not to go to movies with subtitles, as they can be distracting to those who do not need to use them, so therefore most theaters limit their subtitled showings. The only other option for the hearing-impaired then would be to see the film without subtitles, which obviously leaves a lot to be desired, or wait to see the movie at home with closed-captioning.
A new device developed by Sony’s UK Lab hopes to help solve this dilemma with their innovative subtitle glasses. Designed for the individual user, the glasses pick up a signal transmitted by the theater to stream the appropriate subtitles for the movie being viewed. The subtitles appear as text at the bottom of the glasses.
By individualizing the subtitle experience, hearing impaired people can see any movie they’d like with a traditional audience, and other people will not be distracted by subtitles. This also helps save the movie theaters money as well, since they do not have to run a separate screening with subtitles to an unfilled theater, and do not have to purchase/rent a second version of a film with subtitles.
In the near future, Sony plans to incorporate the technology to provide multi-language subtitle options for films of all languages. But this technology isn’t limited to the silver screen, however. There could be an in-car version that projects route and GPS maps that a driver can view through their glasses, as well as a real time solution for translation or transcription services for the hearing impaired and those of a foreign language.