Home Your Tech Smartglasses help the hearing-impaired enjoy theatre

Smartglasses help the hearing-impaired enjoy theatre

London's National Theatre is testing Epson Moverio BT-300 AR smartglasses to enable deaf and hearing-impaired people to read subtitles in their field of vision when they are watching any performance.

The National Theatre is one of the three most prominent publicly funded performing arts venues in the UK.

The BT-300 smartglasses feature Epson's silicon-based OLED digital display technology, enabling mobile augmented reality experiences. They are also the lightest binocular see-though smartglasses to date.

A statement from Epson said the device was lightweight and comfortable enough to be worn for an entire performance. Users could change positioning, size and colour of captions to suit themselves.

The subtitles will always be within the wearer’s field of vision, letting them follow the actors' performances while reading the captions.

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Epson said the smartglasses had a quad-core Intel Atom X5 processor and Android 5.1, enabling efficient rendering of complex 3D experiences.

An upgraded 5 megapixel front-facing camera and on-board sensors enable the Moverio BT-300 to determine where objects resided in the real world.

The Si-OLED projection system then renders and locks 3D content to these objects, with no display background or edges in the field of view.

The trial is set to run until October 2018. The smartglasses can be bought for $1199.

Photos: courtesy Epson


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.