By Andrew Liszewski
Where I live, the movie theaters provide subtitle services to hearing impaired guests via a small glass screen they place in front of where they’re sitting, which reflects the text from an animated pixel board located at the back of the venue. From what I’ve seen the system appears to work pretty well, as long as you sit in a fairly limited ‘sweet spot’ that lets you see both the text and the screen. Sony thinks they’ve come up with something better though. And while their subtitle glasses are still in the prototype phase, they seem like they have a lot of potential.
They look a bit like the shutter glasses you have to wear when watching a 3D film, but the hardware on either side of the lenses actually projects the subtitles onto the glass. So no matter where the viewer is looking, they’re still visible. And even though they sit right in front of the wearer’s eyes, the subtitles still feel like they’re part of the screen, which helps make the whole experience feel more natural. (Relatively speaking.) Of course the technology isn’t just limited to use in a movie theater though. The glasses could incorporate a small mic and voice recognition software, providing real time subtitles during a conversation in real life. And presumably if they ever do go into production, the electronics will be streamlined so that the specs don’t look so bulky.