Innovation That Matters

Movie service

Startup makes movies accessible to visually and hearing impaired

Sport & Fitness

A streamline movie service is helping Americans with sight and hearing limitations gain access to the latest movies.

An American startup has come up with an app which will open up movie streaming to all. Actiview uses technology to amplify sound and provide screen descriptions, all through a wireless device which can be plugged in at home, work, or theatres. The technology is transmitted via wifi, meaning there is no need for buffering and those with hearing or sight difficulties are able to tune in to a movie in the same way a person with perfect hearing or sight does.

With a limited number of cinemas offering audio descriptions and other accessibility options, this app could be the breakthrough the film industry has been waiting for. In order for cinemas to adopt the software, they need to purchase a box which plugs into their AV system and users need to download an app before visiting a venue.

Actiview not only offers audio descriptions and amplified sound, it also has a variety of languages, including sign language. The tech has already been through a number of trials at small theatres in the US and the feedback provided allowed the developers to iron out any imperfections or faults. But their biggest break has come as part of their launch on iTunes. Last month, Actiview teamed up with Pixar to offer access to audio described and amplified sound viewings of Cars 3. If successful, the app will be released via other platforms.

Although it is not an official partnership, Pixar has definitely taken a leap of faith that other studios have feared. Alex Koren, one of Actiview’s founders has said that movies are just the beginning and if the app gains enough exposure through the Pixar partnering, they hope to move onto other entertainment. “We imagine a world where basketball and baseball games, and live theatre are all accessible like this,” said Koren.

So far, the main breakthroughs have been with the Seeing AI app, which describes surroundings for the blind or visually impaired and LipNet in the UK, which uses tech to lip-read and could help those with hearing difficulties communicate better. What other assistive technology is urgently needed to improve the life of people living with some sort of disability?




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