Those who head to the movie theaters for the latest releases often take it for granted that they can see and interpret the movie easily and immediately. However, for hearing-impaired or deaf people, they can’t even watch these movies until captions have been added after the release, which could be some time later. However, now a new technology is emerging to help deaf people enjoy the latest movies in the form of closed-captioning glasses. Now available at select movie theaters, these glasses allow everyone, regardless of hearing ability, to take in the latest releases together. Here we examine what prompted this change, where the glasses are being rolled out, and what these glasses can actually do.

The Ultimate in Comfort

Called Access Glasses, this new piece of technology features a streamlined design ideal for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. They look like an oversized pair of glasses, yet have two detectors on both side of the lenses that “read” the screen in front of you. You can easily fit these glasses over your existing frames, and they’re very comfortable, too. You won’t find yourself tired by the end of the movie from reading all the fine print, either. These glasses were definitely designed with comfort in mind.

The Design

Designed by Randy Smith, the chief administrative officer of Regal Cinemas, Access Glasses were created as a joint venture by Sony and Regal Cinemas. These closed-caption glasses were a dream of Smith’s over a period of many years. They’ve been put through rigorous testing programs to ensure success, and now they will be found at more than 6,000 screens by the end of summer. Look for them at your favorite movie theater.

Where Can I Find These Glasses?

These glasses, as of now, will be used on trial runs at select Regal Cinema theaters throughout the United States. However, it’s not yet known how long testing will take or if they will be implemented at additional movie theaters. The success of these glasses and how far they will go will depend on how many people use them in movie theaters. If they are successful, more screens may be added.

How do They Work?

There are several advantages to these glasses for people who suffer from hearing loss. One of the best parts is that they can be configured for brightness based on the individual needs of the user, making it simple to see the captions in optimal lighting. You can also adjust the glasses to assist you in seeing the film and captions more readily. This, of course, depends on your actual position in the movie theater; the best view seems to come from the middle of the theater, according to initial feedback.

Once you have configured your glasses the way you like them and the movie has begun, the sensors on either side of your head will pick up on the captions from a special data transmitter that displays the words in front of you. In fact, the captioning text appears to be floating 10 feet in front of you so you can easily see the movie and read the words all at the same time with ease. This makes for an all-around great movie-going experience, representing a big step forward for hearing-impaired individuals.

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