A company simply identified as Nreal, has created augmented reality spectacles that place subtitles on conversations happening in the real world so that the audio-impaired can now have the whole world transcribed for them.
Nreal’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dan Scarfe narrated, his 97-year-old grandfather inspired his latest creation. He said, the grandpa sitting quietly in a room on Christmas Day, surrounded by his family, but unable to join in with conversation because of his hearing loss sparked it all up.
According to Scarfe: “It’s got to the point now where he literally just sits in silence,” said Scarfe. “And I thought, well, hang on a second. He watches TV all the time with subtitles. Why can’t we subtitle the world?”
What seem like an ordinary pair of glasses are actually using Amazon Alexa software to turn incoming audio into closed captioning, before the software developed by Scarfe and his company Nreal project those CCs through augmented reality onto the world through the glasses.
It took the company just six months to launch the XRAI glasses, and while the software can’t cope with people speaking over each other, Scarfe insists it’s just the beginning.
He said: “We’re going with a small number to begin with to prove it out, to get the feedback, to understand what people like, what they don’t like, [and] rapidly innovate on that.”
“And then we’re hoping if the winds are behind us, then we will reach general availability by September.”
The latest innovation has been lauded as a lifechanging innovation by Britain’s Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) and the organization DeafKidz.
RNID affirmed, the portability is impressive, as the glasses are just glasses, and a normal cable connects to your smartphone.
“As a profoundly deaf person myself, I was blown away by this technology,” said Steve Crump, Founder and Chair, DeafKidz International. “When I tried on the glasses, I was astonished—real time subtitles that enable you to engage and participate as never before.”
With 12 million potential users, the glasses reportedly can be purchased through a British healthcare provider network, and financed for around £35 per month for 11 months.
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