Sony has recently announced the development of a pair of specialized glasses aimed at making trips to the cinema a more tempting option for deaf and hard of hearing viewers.
The clever piece of technology will allow the wearer to view subtitles on the lenses, seeing them as if they were on the screen.
The technology has already excited numerous deaf people, who currently are unable to visit the cinema as they rarely cater for viewers with hearing-related disabilities. I spoke to a friend who suffers from a lack of hearing in her left ear, and she had this to say about the potential of visiting the cinema with the Sony glasses:
“I haven’t been to the cinema in years due to my problems with hearing. I got sick of constantly trying to figure out what was being said or ask the person with me to confirm things – it wasn’t necessarily the cinema’s fault, as I accept most people don’t want subtitles on the screen, so I just stopped going. To be able to go the cinema with friends again and just enjoy the film sounds great, I just hope the glasses don’t look too silly!”
Sony’s glasses will work by displaying subtitles at the bottom of the lenses, appearing to the wearer as if they’re on the screen. The tech company says the frames are currently only in the prototype stage, but that they expect to make them available to purchase sometime in 2012.
Sony has commented that they expect the glasses not only to be welcomed by hard of hearing cinema-goers, but also by the film industry and cinemas around the world. The glasses should in theory encourage higher audience numbers at cinemas, meaning both the film companies and the cinemas make more money.
Whilst the technology appears to be completed (although Sony suggest they have more trials to carry out to perfect it), the styling of the glasses as yet remains unclear – this could be a pertinent element when it comes to how successfully integrated into the cinema experience the glasses become, although we wouldn’t expect Sony to do a bad job when it comes to styling (given their success at cosmetic product design).
The price of the glasses hasn’t been announced, but this is likely to be a concern for individual cinemas rather than consumers, as I can’t imagine the glasses will be released for general sale to the public.