I was at a meeting a fortnight ago of a group that brings together cinema industry guys and representatives from the disability sector to talk about access to the cinema. It was a useful meeting and the highlight came right at end when the man from yourlocalcinema.com mentioned some new technology – subtitled spectacles.
The idea is that you wear some special glasses and that the subtitles to the film come up on the inside of the glasses. So only you can see the subtitles. Apparently, RAF fighters already use a similar technology.
The obvious benefit is that the subtitles would not be visible to other people in the cinema. Whilst the UK leads the world in accessible cinema, there is still a lack of choice of films at convenient times for deaf children and adults. Cinemas still tend to show films at ‘quiet’ times when hearing people are less likely to go for fear that they’ll lose too much business if they show such films at more popular times. Whatever the rights and wrongs of this, it makes me think that the existing model of delivering access will never deliver real choice. Hence my interest in technology that allows deaf people to see a film at any time of their choosing.
Has anyone else come across subtitled spectacles? Does it have any potential?