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Caption Glasses Bring Hard-of-Hearing Back To The Theater

Thanks to closed captioning, audio and language barriers can be easily overcome to allow people of all walks of life to enjoy programming from around the world. However, closed captioning only works when a screen is present to serve as an intermediary.

One entertainment medium that lacks a screen is live theater, which the hearing-impaired are almost completely incapable of engaging with. It’s a good thing we live in an age where the digital realm is constantly edging closer to our own.

Japanese technology firm Epson has developed a special pair of augmented reality glasses for audience use during live theater. The glasses show a virtual overlay in front of the user’s view that contains a closed captioning bar with live subtitles of the play’s script. Via a handheld remote, the user can customize the size, color, and language of the subtitles to their liking.

The National Theatre in London, England has already begun hiring the glasses out to patrons, and the response has been notably positive. Deaf and hearing-impaired audience members, who would previously move back and forth between watching the play and reading a script in their lap expressed relief at being able to just watch the play normally.