-- so hold your questions until I get out there with the mic by decree

VIEWS: 8 PAGES: 26

									Saturday, August 15, 2009
Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD)
The Future of Accessible Technology

Michael: So hold your questions until I get out there with the mic. Okay? Larry?

Larry Goldberg: Thank you, Michael. The session today I am going to talk about the
future of accessible technology. Anyone who wants to guess about the future is already
going to be wrong. So we will make some guesses here, but we are going to have some
starting points too.

I know a lot of the folks here, new friends, old friends, I am going to be relatively broad
in what I talk about, in terms of technology. So forgive me if I talk about things that are
really old hat to you, that you have known about for years. Because I am sure there is
some people in the room it will be new to. And then hopefully there will be some things
in here that you haven't seen before or hadn't known before. As Michael said, we will
take questions along the way, because I am going be changing subjects from everything
from Yankee Stadium to VSA Arts, so if we lose where you are -- in the subject you are
interested in, you can certainly stop me.

There is going to be another session right after mine, we are gong to break at 2:30, take a
15-minute break, and then we are going to start another session on envisioning and wish-
listing, and problem thinking-solving for future technologies. And we are going to start
off with a presentation by my colleague Trey Liddell here, who is going to show some of
his exciting new technology, and that will be a really good jumping-off point for another
discussion about what people would really like to see for new technology and what they
think about existing technologies for access to the museums and cultural events. So that
is how it is going to run. So there will be plenty of time for discussion, plenty of time for
talk.

As Michael said, I am the Director of Media Access at WGBH, and I am also Director of
the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media, the research and
development arm of media access at WGBH. WGBH's Media Access Group began in
1972 with the captioning of, ironically enough, Julia Child’s French Chef. So it is all
Julia, all the time lately. And we are very proud of that. Even if you go over to the
Smithsonian where they have Julia's kitchen down in the basement they talk about the
fact that it was the first program ever captioned on television. So we are very proud of
our Julia. But what began with open captioning on Julia then became closed captioning
on hundreds and then thousands of TV programs, an then home video, feature films, CDs,
and DVDs, and streaming video on the web, and now mobile devices, wherever there
may be media, we work to make it accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing
through captioning.

In 1990 we started the descriptive video service. You have heard a little bit about that,
audio description also, it was referred to. And that is a way of making television and
other media accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. So I will be covering
both of those areas of interest throughout everything I have to say. Descriptive video now
is available on home video and feature films, and it works by inserting key visual
elements during any pauses in dialogue or any sort of presentation.

As I mentioned, our research and development area is called the Carl and Ruth Shapiro
Family National Center for Accessible Media. It was established in 1993 because it
became quite obvious that only dealing with plain old television was not going to be
enough. Remember, '93 is when people really began jumping on the web. Netscape was
very popular. We realized that media was going to be pervasive in everywhere, and not
just on that box in your living room. So we had some start up funds from the Corporation
for Public Broadcasting, we began looking at research and standards and guidelines and
development projects. We have a great deal of involvement in national policy
development in the United States and now abroad, been very involved in the UN
convention on the rights of people with disabilities, and the technology provisions in that
convention. And working on solutions and guidelines for everything from talking set top
cable boxes to digital captioning in movie theaters and virtually everything in between.
Especially a lot about online education and accessibility. We are lucky to have wonderful
relationships with people throughout the disability community here and locally,
nationally, and aboard, as well as with a lot of corporations. So we get to learn many
perspectives, and we try to be very, very practical in what we try to come up with what
works in the actual world of technology and media.

I want to start off with the basics. If you know all the basics you have time to finish your
lunch and go to the bathroom. But what is captioning? And it is not as obvious as a
question as it may seem. Everyone seems to think they know what captioning is, and of
course it starts with this lady, Julia Child. This is an image from the very first program
ever captioned. We picked Julia Child because we thought it might be helpful to actually
have the recipes played out on the screen. Universal design from the get-go. And the
producers of Julia Child said great idea, let's start captioning. The image says the first
stew is dark, it is cooked in red wine. And you can go to the PBS website now and look at
a lot of old Julia shows which were re-launched because of the popularity of the new
movie.

Captioning then became the captioned ABC Evening News, which PBS at WGBH would
record the ABC news and subtitle it, and replay it at 11 o'clock. So that was as close to
realtime captioning as you got, between 6:30 and 11 p.m., that was as fast as we can do it
at the time. And throughout the '70s, that is how news was captioned. Open captioned for
all to see. But then of course closed captioning came in, and this is an image from All in
the Family. One of the earlier shows that was closed captioned. And once closed
captioning was invented so that people can choose through technology whether they
wanted to see captions or not, then it really began to take off. And in fact, much media
access technology really began to flower when people started taking advantage of digital
technologies, and in fact closed captioning is an early version of interactive TV. You
punish a button, and things happen on your TV.
Today we have digital TV captioning, where the captions look a lot better. This image is
an example of how a consumer can change their captions into a translucent background
with a beautiful helvetica font. In the large size, you have three different choices of sizes
in digital TV captioning, and it looks just much better, when it works. People are having
trouble properly receiving digital television captioning as well as video description, and
that is a whole separate issue maybe we will talk about later.

But captioning also works on the web, on an interactive media. This is an image from the
TV show Arthur the Aardvark. And as you can see here the caption says a disguise, that
is it, I will go get you a disguise. This was a form of captioning we developed that was
read-along. Each line of captions was highlighted. We thought maybe this would help
kids with their reading. But not only that, the word disguise is in red, and the interactive
product that we created you can click on the word disguise and get a definition of it.
Pauses the program, and then comes back to it. So captioning has become something very
different.

Here is an image of a TV program from Nova. And this is an online version of Nova.
Now you might not even be able to tell from the image, but you will see that there is a
video play bar there from a video player from the web, and a little "CC" symbol in the
lower right corner. And that is how so much of captioning that is available on the web
can now be made available. And of course on your iPod. We will be talking a lot more
about iPods and iPod Touches. IPods can now support captioning. They do. And we
worked with Apple quite a bit on this. The very first question we had to deal with on the
question of putting captions on an iPod is -- is that really going to be readable? That little
tiny screen, you are going to put captions on? Well, in our early tests it became quite
clear it is quite readable, and in fact is probably more readable than the text people were
looking at on their Blackberry, which is tiny, tiny text as well. So captioning actually
works very well on small mobile devices, and that is a big subject for later on today.

There is a lot of captioning on the web today, but not nearly enough. Tremendous amount
of television that was originally broadcast and captioned is now winding up on the web
without captions. But I am happy to say that much of the TV programs produced at
WGBH in Boston, when they wind up on the web have captions. And here is a very cute
TV show called Peep and the Big Wide World, and it is got a very cute interface for
turning on and off captions. So I encourage you to take a look at the show. Click on the
caption button and you will see this extra box appears below that displays the captions.

This is an image from my iPhone, that is a close up, and it shows that not only does the
iPhone have the ability to support English language captions it can also support multiple
languages. And have an example, which you can come up and see later with French,
German, Italian, Spanish, and you can just switch languages on the fly. That doesn't that
it is automatically translating on the fly, you have to type in the words. But you do have
that option. And now we are getting to some interesting opportunities for people in
museum, cultural institutions, who also want to serve people who speak other languages.
And interestingly enough, we can now caption radio. This is an image from an NPR
program. It was about the crisis of Gallaudet University when they were choosing a new
president and the students decided they didn't like the choice of the board of trustees. It
became quite controversial. The NPR program Talk of the Nation wanted to do a
program about it, and they felt well, are we going to do a radio show about deafness and
not make it access accessible to deaf people? So they asked us to do the first captioned
radio program. And you can see here it was a separate pop-up window, and we did
realtime captioning of the radio program, which has eventually now evolved into a new
project with NPR on captioning this new technology called HD Radio. HD Radio is a
form of digital radio. Some of you may be aware of. How many people have heard of HD
Radio? Oh, that is great. HD Radio can handle extra data. So we can actually put a
caption stream into an HD Radio signal. And presently there are no displays that can yet
decode it, but there are prototypes that do. And we are working with NPR to see about
whether we can actually start providing captions of radio.

Captioning is also something called Rear Window. I am down playing it only a little bit,
but I do hold the patent for this technology, so I am pretty proud it. It is a combination of
technologies from WGBH called MoPix. It is installed in over 400 theaters in the United
States and Canada, and is a form of captioning for motion pictures where captions are
displayed in the rear of the theater in this image you might notice that the words are
backwards. It says welcome to Rear Window. Please adjust your reflector. Because in
Rear Window you get a reflector, you sit at your seat and put it into the cup holder, and it
catches the reflections of the captions behind you in the theater, and pretty unobtrusively
makes it available for the person who needs captions during the film. This is a form of
captioning that takes advantage of the digital audio technology that movie theaters have
been installing for years.

But there are lots of other ways to provide captioning in these kinds of environments.
One of them you can see right here behind me is a form of open captioning that many of
you have already seen in theaters all over the country. Here is an image from a Broadway
show that actually uses the open captioning, the 42nd Street. And you heard, if you were
at the last session a woman from the Theater Development Fund talking about not only
are they now helping theaters in New York City provide this service but now all over the
country, which is really quite amazing. And this is for live theater productions.
Originally, they used stenography, like you see Chuck using here today. But now that
they actually put the script in advance so they can have much smoother and much more
accurate captioning when it is prepped long in advance.

One of the drawbacks, of course, is that the theaters have decided they only want to show
these captioned performances on an occasional basis during the run of a play. So you
don't get to see it on every single show, even though you might feel that might be the
right way to go. With the Rear Window captioning it is available for every single show
no matter when you walk in because other people in the audience who may not be
interested in captioning never even are aware of it. And of course there is open captioning
right on the film. This is in both DVDs, here is an image from Harry Potter, and
Dumbledore once again saying once again I must ask too much of you, Harry. And I
would be amiss not to mention that you can certainly open caption movies and TV shows
in any environment that you are in. In a museum, in a theater, in a conventional theater,
or one at a National Park Service. And it is always available and it is a very simple,
straight forward technology. And that is one that museums and National Park Services
are always grappling with, about the combination of the aesthetic and the service to the
people who really need captioning. I don't think we are going to solve that one today, but
it needs to be raised and aware that there are certainly ways of simply putting captions
right on a TV show or a movie.

Now video description isn't as widely known, though in this conference I think it
probably is. Closed captioning is required by law on every single cable broadcast or
satellite program in the United States. Video description is not. So that is why video
description is not as common or as well known. It also happens to be known by different
names. Audio description, descriptive video, descriptive narration. I tend to call it video
description, because that is how we started at WGBH, that is what the FCC and various
federal laws call it. But you can call it what you like. How many here, people here have
not heard video description, have not. Oh, well at least one person gives me a reason to
play this video, then.

I am going show you two examples. One from a movie that many of you are probably
familiar with and you can feel free to close your eyes to get the experience of not having
visuals available, and that is the movie Forrest Gump.

[Music]

Female speaker: The man wears a blue-checked shirt, buttoned to the collar underneath
an off-white suit. He settles back against the bench very upright, and stares straight
ahead. He squints as a bus stops in front of him, but doesn't get up. He takes the red bow
off the chocolate box, peeks underneath the lid, and closes it again. A young woman in a
white nurse's uniform and white sneakers sits down a few feet away. Without looking at
her seat-mate, she opens a magazine and starts to read.

Forrest Gump: Hello. My name is Forrest, Forrest Gump.

Female speaker: The woman nods briefly, then returns to her reading.

Forrest Gump: Do you want a chocolate?

Female speaker: She stares at him, then shakes her head.

Forrest Gump: I could eat about a million-and-a-half of these. My momma always said
life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.

Female speaker: His mouth stuffed with sweets, Forrest grins at the young woman who
ignores him. Forrest points at her feet.
Forrest Gump: Those must be comfortable shoes. I will bet you could walk all day in
shoes like that and not feel a thing.

Female speaker: She rolls her eyes.

Forrest Gump: I wish I had shoes like that.

Female speaker: My feet hurt.

Forrest Gump: Momma always said there is an awful lot you can tell about a person by
their shoes. Where they go, where they have been.

Female speaker: The young woman finally glances at Forrest. He stares thoughtfully
into the distance.

Forrest Gump: I have worn lots of shoes. I will bet if I think about it real hard, I can
remember my first pair of shoes.

Larry Goldberg: That was a little clip from Forrest Gump. I love watching interpreters
handle that. Did a beautiful job. So that is the kind of work we are inserting descriptions
in between the dialogue that describe what we feel are the key visual elements. Often,
there is very little time to fit the right words in, so you have to be very judicious in terms
of what you use that time for. In this clip we happen to have some generous amount of
time. So we are able to expand beyond the basics and give a lot more environmental
description there.

The image next to it I won't describe to you, because it will be described in a second. We
are asked by VSA Arts down in Florida to describe the paintings in an exhibit that they
were holding. I believe it was in Tampa, thought it might have travelled to Miami. And
so we actually went through and described all the images. And they were delivered by
one of the technologies I am going to show you in a minute. But it was basically cell
phone-delivered description. So here is how the description works in this arts
environment.

Female speaker: Stop one. Woman with Messy Hair was created in 2001 by Jorge
Hernandez, a tenth grade student at Barbara Goldman Senior High School in Miami,
Florida. The medium is an indian ink wash out technique. The work measures 32 inches
high by 23 inches wide. A young woman with green eyes stands sideways, staring
intently out over her right shoulder, her gaze fixed on something in the distance. Her
unsmiling lips are parted and her arms crossed. Two long yellow feathers dangle from a
round clip in her disheveled red hair, which juts out from her head in floppy clumps. The
right sleeve of her tattered yellow blouse appears torn, baring her shoulder. A large white
circle set into a plain grey background reassembling a full moon in the twilight sky
frames her head. Inky streaks and smudges cover the entire canvas, marring the woman
as well as the world around her.
Larry Goldberg: We also took a lot of time to describe that image. It happens to be a
VSA Arts exhibit, so they really did want us to spend a lot of time making the paintings
accessible. And I think there are about 35 in this exhibit. Clearly, anyone who is doing
description of still art work like that can expand or contract the amount of description
they provide. And that description also included the nature of the medium, the actual
notes that accompany the painting, and then went into describing the image. So there is
some leeway there in terms of how you want to use the technique to really make a piece
of sculpture, a piece of painting fully accessible.

You folks were in New Orleans recently, you know the expression where you at? But
before we get into where you at, which is where some of these things are being rolled out
I should pause a bit, because I just talked about some of the basics of where these
technologies exist and see if we have any questions already? About any of these issues,
MoPix technology, where word captioning is or isn't, description, questions yet? Let's get
them, there, okay -- [Inaudible] --

Speaker: Just a quick question. As far as the Rear Window, in a theater in a round, where
would you put that, just somewhere, and then just make sure that people sit in the right
place, kind of thing?

Larry Goldberg: Theater in the round is an interesting question. We have dealt with it
both in a 360 degree theater at Epcot, if you have ever been to the China exhibit there is
screens all around you. And planetariums have the same question. In the case of the
Museum of Science in Boston where they have a planetarium they decided to just put the
captions on small displays in front of a certain number of seats. At Epcot the folks from
Disney were very innovative. They put the Rear Window data wall straight overhead on
the ceiling, and they put reflectors down on the middle of the floor that were angled so as
you look forward it reflected the ceiling. So that took a little cleverness there. But there
are going to be cases I think where Rear Window probably is not appropriate. Particularly
in a theater in the round where you have no other place. So maybe you are going to want
a direct view captioning smaller than this. We haven't seen anything but Epcot, the China
exhibit actually tried to do Rear Window in a 360 degree exhibit.

Speaker: I was wondering what advances they are making with descriptive video in
terms of on a DVD? I am understanding, having not used DVD with the descriptive
narration, I have used it with VHS. How do you make it work on a DVD, because you
have to be sighted to select a choice.

Larry Goldberg: Right. That was what was so wonderful about the old technology of
VHS that you could put the tape in and it just starts playing. And then because of the
DVS home video project we had, we had open describe video tapes so you didn't need to
press any special buttons to turn on the description. Well, unfortunately VHS died. And
the studios stopped providing it. So we had to end that project. So instead we were
pushing the studios to include description right as a track. There are many audio tracks
available on DVDs. And though they were initially reluctant, we will see a lot more
videos, DVDs with description coming out this fall. Because we describe so many
movies for the theaters the description track is available, and they just need to reuse it.
But there was push back around not enough room, they had all the special features so
there was no room.

And then the question came up, but how does a blind person turn on that track. So we
actually developed a technique called talking menus. And we put it on a series of
American Experience DVDs that came out, documentary series, and there are now I think
six available where when you put in the DVD immediately there is a barker screen or a
hello, howdy screen that says the following disc has audio navigation. Now we prefer to
call it talking menus. Press one now on your remote to leave those talking menus on. And
if you can find 1 on your remote from that point on every single button on those menus
will talk to you. And all you do is use your up and down arrows. And it is just like using
a screen reader. So the technique exists.

We put it on six discs and then we went to Hollywood and we said okay, we would like
you to put description on the disc and we would like you to make talking menus. Well, it
was tough enough to get them to put description on the disc. One studio once put the
talking menus on, they didn't even label the disc. It was Jim Carey's The Grinch Who
Stole Christmas. And when it first came out they said, oh, we can do this. This is easy.
And they stumbled around trying to figure out how to make these buttons interactive and
audible. That is the only Hollywood film that ever included talking menus.

So we still struggle with that issue, and it is almost an open discussion for you and other
users of description is I assume you would still want the description even though the
menus are completely inaccessible, because that is what we are facing as a choice now. It
means sighted assistance. There is pretty much no other way around it. There are no
standards for, okay, press the down arrow twice, then the right arrow, and then hit enter.
That is not how it exists. Every DVD menu is different. There are no standards.

Yeah, please go. Can we have the microphone back?

Speaker: Thank you. Sorry. Is there any further movement in the legislation to bring
back the requirement for descriptive narration?

Larry Goldberg: Oh yeah, absolutely. That's an easier question.

Speaker: Okay, good.

Larry Goldberg: The 21st Century Telecommunications and Video Accessibility Act,
HR-3101 would return the video description requirements that did exist in 2002, the bill
has been introduced in congress by Congressman Markey of Massachusetts. It is working
its way through Congress slowly. Very slowly. There is a lot of other things on their
plates in Congress these days, and it is a tough piece of legislation because it also covers
issues over accessible Voice Over IP, all consumer electronics accessibility is in there,
captioning on online video is in that bill, but absolutely reinstating the mandate would be
in there too. Though it wouldn't cover DVDs. Never did. And probably never would.
Would just be television.

Is there a question way in the back?

Speaker: Larry, like Valerie who just spoke before me, we are both librarians for the
blind. And I just want to convey to you how important the descriptive video is, especially
on children's films. And let you have a message from one of my sixth-graders in my
Braille book club who desperately wants to see The Little Mermaid on DVD in a
descriptive video. And I cannot find it. I cannot buy it. I see it in the UK. I see it in
Australia, New Zealand, but I can't buy it here. And Valerie asked many of the questions,
and you answered them for me. But I wanted to let you know the meaning to the
community that this has. It is not only children, it is also adults. We are purchasing audio-
described videos from a Canadian company that are plug and play at this point. But --

Larry Goldberg: That is great. Well, that message has to go to Disney and the
producers. We would do it in a second.

Speaker: How do you suggest we convey that message?

Larry Goldberg: I could put up the name of the people at the studio you should contact.
But it is unfortunately, fortunately, Disney is charging full speed ahead. There was a
petition somebody put online from the blind community directly focusing on Disney.
And they have agreed. But it is the other studios that are extremely reluctant. We will of
course do everything in the case to make it happen, but it is not our movie. And I should
let people know when we did have the DVS home video project on VHS tape, libraries
were the biggest customer. We know full well that the libraries are the best place to make
this stuff available.

Speaker: It would be very helpful for us at libraries if there were a comprehensive list of
DVDs currently that are audio describes that is maintained, that is maintained to be
current.

Larry Goldberg: It is on our website right now.

Speaker: I have seen yours. Do you have everything?

Larry Goldberg: That is all of it.

Speaker: Everything that you do, or everything that all the studios are doing?

Larry Goldberg: We do. That is the only thing that is done. It is just coming from our
shop. That is all there is. Is probably no more than a dozen to date. Except for PBS, I
should not forget, that there is 110 Nova episodes with description. There are many
American Experiences, those good educational things that kids should be watching. Little
Mermaid, come on. What kind of role model is that? But yeah, no, we are very, very
keenly aware of that, and I think there will be a little bit of breakthrough this fall. So I
can tell you, you will hear good news this fall about that and other interesting delivery
mechanisms. Yeah, it has been frustrating. All the way over there.

Speaker: I have a BBC DVD at home that has that audio menu option on it, and it is just
a standard release. So I don't know whether that is standard on all BBC DVDs now? I
think it was a recent adaptation of --[Inaudible]--

Larry Goldberg: Yeah, we invented description in this country, and now Canada and the
United Kingdom are doing much better. Much better. If you, not that I should encourage
this, but if you buy a multi region DVD player in the United States and have a friend in
England who will buy you discs, because they are not allowed to be shipped here, the
RNIB cannot ship discs here, you would be happy to do that for us? That is a nice
business you can get into, trance shipping the discs. There are multi region discs, but if
you have, if you are an American and you have a DVD player the British discs will not
work in them. It is really unfortunate.

The studios in England, the community in England, and the power of the Royal National
Institute for the Blind has succeeded in getting 400 DVDs with description now.
Enormous numbers. Which ones? And that is actually available on RNIB’s website as
well. A great collection. As a matter of fact, if you want to kind of break your computer a
little bit, if you put a DVD in a computer it will tell you, you have five opportunities to
set what region you want it to be in. And after that your computer will be locked into a
new region. Which means you won't be able to play American discs in there. But if you
don't care, you can play all your DVDs you want on a computer and it will change
regions. It is a little trick. Excuse me? Yeah, get an extra computer. Get a library to have
a region 2 computer. And then you would have to watch them there. It is an interesting
work around, but we want a better solution than that. We would like our own discs with
description that work all the time. Anything else?

Speaker: Yes, going back to the MoPix, can you tell me how, is it a permanent
installation? Our theater, we can reconfigure it, so if we decided we were going to be
facing the other way, it is not in the round, but how mobile is it?

Larry Goldberg: Yeah there is, it is bigger than this by 50%, I would say. Weighs about
50 pounds, and has these keyhole hooks in the back so you can just hang it on the wall.
You need two people. And then it just has power and a signal cable. So yes, you can
move it around. It is a little heavy, but you can move it around. Just like you are changing
the configuration of your room with new walls, seats, yes, you can move it.

Speaker: Well, if you were doing a performance you wouldn't leave it up for the entire
run of the performance --

Larry Goldberg: Yeah.

Speaker: -- and then remove it, if you did -- so that would be it good.
Larry Goldberg: Yeah, so that works. All right, let's move on to where it is happening.
And this is, I am going talk a little bit about what I know where some museums and
institutions are doing. But it goes far beyond this. So if you are sitting here in the
audience and you do a tremendous amount of description or captioning and I don't
mention you it is because I couldn't possibly mention all of the good work being done in
all these cultural institutions.

But first I will talk about hand-held guides. We are seeing tremendous number now, and
you will see demonstrations this afternoon from Trey of guides that provide description,
text, or some sort of captioning, sign language, and global positioning for way-finding.
The companies, and they were actually all invited here but only Soft Tech took up the
invitation, Antenna Audio, Soft Tech, or Orpheo out of France, Spatial Adventures is one
of the cell phone companies, Guide By Cell is another cell phone company that delivers
audio tours and description. Bar Z Adventures has something called the GPS Ranger.
They are out of Texas. And we are beginning to see these all over the country now.

So the mobile technologies are really beginning to emerge. And when the question is
asked, when we get to what is coming down the pike I think we are going to see. And for
good or bad we are going to see a lot more mobile technologies. So how we can make
that work better is going to be an interesting question.

This is an image of an antenna audio player with a sign language interpreter on it. And it
is triggered as you walk around a museum. And you can pick various locations, and it
actually has someone who will sign to you about a piece of art work. This is what you
will see more of in a little bit, the Soft Tech device deployed right now at Disney. Disney
originally installed Rear Window captioning in all of the fixed-seat attractions. So if you
go to see It is Tough to Be a Bug or Lion King or any of these shows where you sitting
down throughout all the Disney theme parks you will see Rear Window, though they call
it reflective captioning, because they don't like the trademark. But when you are on a
ride, when you are at the Haunted House, when you are on a ride at Epcot how could you
possibly use Rear Window. So working with this company, and you will meet Trey from
there, they have this portable device that we helped design that provides assistive
listening, hand held captioning, a combination of assistive listening and hand held
captioning and descriptive narration. The buttons were tested and reworked to make them
tactile and detectible. And you can even use this box, you know how Disney has
brilliantly figured out how to make people wait in line and not even mind, it just that the
science of it is phenomenal. And of course one thing they do is put up TV monitors, so
you can watch something as you walk along. Well, Disney decided that some of those
monitors will have closed captions on them, and this device you can push a button and
turn on the captions when you walk by the monitor. So, Disney has done some wonderful
things there, and we will talk a little bit more about that later.

A company out of France called Orpheo, they have devices that are regularly available
throughout Europe, and at the Empire State Building, I think is one of their main U.S.
clients. And they also can provide captioning, description, and sign language. Spatial
Adventures, one of the cell phone companies, and I know a number of museums are
beginning to use this. We worked with the Whitney Museum on the question of whether
cell phone technology would work for them. And basically the idea is there is a sign next
to the piece of art work, you dial the phone number, press the number of the art work, and
it will describe it to you. Pretty straight forward. Two issues came up when the Whitney
did some audio studies on this. One obvious question was, aren't people going to use up
all their minutes, aren't they going to be concerned about using up all their minutes. And
then of course what network are they on, and will they be able to get reception deep
inside the building. Those are the two obvious questions. The one less obvious question
was that people are more concerned about using up their battery on their phone,
particularly someone with a disability, to be stranded with a dead phone, than using up
their minutes. Because people have these unlimited plans these days, mostly. And the
other question is, the Whitney, like many of your museums, visitors from other countries
and the cell phones just aren't going to be useful for them, and this technology won't be.
But in many other environments, particularly outside ones, cell phone-driven tours
happen to work pretty well. And another company that does that is called Guide By Cell,
and they are in all kinds of places around the country where there is just a little sign that
says dial the number. Notice it is not an 800 number, it is a 415 number. And then you
enter the number of the site that you are on and hear a description of the event.

This is an interesting one, I have not had a chance to play with it yet. The Bar Z
Adventures GPS Ranger. At first I didn't take it seriously because the name sounded so
bizarre, but in fact it is now being used. Anyone here familiar with the GPS Ranger from
Bar Z? Beth is. But Beth knows everything. And it is an interesting device, and it does
use GPS for locations so it can actually tell you where you are and therefore trigger a
description. I haven't seen them do captioning, but captioning is a lot easier, so I suspect
they can do that as well.

Of course there are also the fixed text displays that we already talked about. So
captioning non-mobile devices. Company C2 happens to do an awful lot of the captioning
for Broadway shows and for TDF, and I believe they use exactly the same display. And
they have a captioner come for occasionally shows on Broadway. Rear Window we have
already talked about. We haven't tested Rear Window on a Broadway show yet, but the
Penobscot Theater in Penobscot, Maine, has, is a legitimate theater and they do have Rear
Window, and they have software we gave them. They enter the script for their play and
then an operator sits there and gates out the text as the play is playing. And they love it.
But we haven't really installed it in any other legitimate theaters yet.

And as I said don't forget, there is always open captions, the easiest and lowest tech way
of going. And I can't sit here in front of my friend Arlene without talking about open
captions because many advocates will say what is the problem. Just put captions on the
image. And that is a long conversation, but it is clearly readily available. When a movie
is being shown, like a classic movie like Citizen Kane is being shown in a film festival at
a museum there is going to be a DVD with captions on it. So you can simply just project
the captions from the DVD. You can even put them on a separate monitor if you really
don't want to put them right up on the main screen. And that goes for modern movies like
Wall-E and old movies like Citizen Kane. So it is a very straight forward way of
providing text for people who need text.

And the other part of MoPix that I mentioned is DVS Theatrical. This is our descriptions
provided by infrared headsets to people, blind people who go to movies and can hear the
descriptions on their head set. And in this case, the descriptions are, only descriptions are
in the head set. You get the audio from the movie from the extremely loud speakers
around you. You don't need extra audio. So all you get in your head set is description.
And some blind people actually prefer to just put one of their head phones on and leave
their other ear open for the ambient audio.

Yes, Trey? Hold on, hold your question. You should know better, Trey!

Trey Liddell: I should know the answer, but on that last one, the DVS, did you mention
if it was IR, what is the technology that feeds it?

Larry Goldberg: Virtually all movie theaters use IR because they want line of sight,
because of the bad experiences they have had with using FM which leaks through walls.
So you could be getting the description from an R rated movie in the Disney movie next
door. Not that our descriptions are ever profane, but we describe some good stuff. So it is
rare to see FM used in movie theaters. It is almost always IR. But in other environments
FM is used.

Speaker: Larry, tell everyone what IR stands for?

Larry Goldberg: Infrared is IR, and FM is FM radio. Where it is happening this, I don't
really need to get in depth, because it is happening in a lot of wonderful places. You will
see any of these mobile devices, captioning, captioning on films, and everywhere from
the Smithsonian, the tape monitor has done amazing work with description. The New
York Hall of Science is like a laboratory for new technologies. The Museum of Modern
Art, I tried to think of everyone who would be here so I didn't leave them out. The Boston
Museum of Science put in the first captioning for planetariums I have ever seen. VSA
Arts is doing it everywhere. The experience music project in Seattle which I will talk
about a little later has Rear Window and other forms of access. And for those of you who
work in arts institutions who are here, can you raise your hand if you have caption or
description in your institution. Yes, I am sorry. I left you out, I know it is going along lots
more. Papermill Playhouse. How can I forget them. Of course, pioneer will be awarded
tonight for their great work.

It is happening in lots of places. IMAX theaters are installing Rear Window, and they use
a little bit of different technology for synchronization, but the very, very first Rear
Window captioning system was installed right down the street here at the Langley Air
and Space Museum in their IMAX theater in 1997, and they were really the test case
there. But then museums of science all over the country, aquariums with IMAX theaters,
the Kennedy Space Center, and now commercial theaters that are jumping on IMAX
projection of even movies like Harry Potter are also installing the Rear Window system. I
believe we count 13 IMAX theaters from across the country now have Rear Window
captioning, and that might be low. Probably more.

National parks are using all forms of these technologies. I saw some interesting ones at
the FDR birth place at Hyde Park. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis has a Rear Window
system, as does the U. S. S. Arizona memorial. I know my friend Bill Patterson is about
to do some description about Rainier. And you have to climb the mountain, is that right,
in order to do the description?

Speaker: No way.

Larry Goldberg: And the description goes like this --

[Heavy breathing]

It is a really big mountain.

[Laughter]

It is happening in lots of places. National Park Service has been great in terms of making
their indoor and outdoor facilities accessible. And certainly, live theater. The Kennedy
Center, one of the main places you can see live description. Many of you here, many of
the describers here work in live theater all over the United States. Have yet to have a
good conversation with my friends from the UK, but I know there is a lot of great work
going on there. And you know better than I, in many ways, where there is description in
live theater. It is not in every single show, obviously, and the technology to make that
happen has been experimented with, but it is not really there yet, where you can have an
automated system for recorded description. There has been testing on using the
automated lighting cues that they have in professional theaters to trigger the description,
but it is not quite there yet.

The fun one lately, and if you want to stretch to consider sports venues cultural
institutions, and why not, they are certainly subject to significant ADA regulations. A
couple of years ago I was involved in a suit against the Washington Red Skins as an
expert witness. And they actually wound up putting captioning there at their FedEx Field.
And now all of a sudden you are seeing captioning all over the sports venues all over the
country. And it has just taken off. After dozens of years of advocacy by the deaf
community we are now seeing captions in all of these places. And Yankee Stadium City
Field which is Shea Stadium. Well, having taken almost $2 billion in public money you
would hope that they would be pretty accessible. Patriot Place is a museum up in Boston,
Patriots, with no public money paid for a full captioning and description system the one
that Soft Tech designed. The Red Skins, and some new interesting things happening at
Safeco Field, the Seattle Mariners and the Baltimore Ravens. So we are going to get to
that in a second.
Here is some images as what it looks like at Yankee stadium, not that anyone should ever
go to Yankee Stadium or give them any money whatsoever, let me just make a point
about that, but in this image of the center they have the second largest video display in
the United States. I think the largest one is obviously in Texas. The second largest is this
Mitsubishi diamond vision, let's not call it jumbotrons any more, because jumbotron
doesn't exist. It is now a Mitsubishi diamond vision. And right next to it is a very clear
caption display. It says now let's go down to our contestants. Hello, Yankee fans. And
there is a court reporter from New Jersey who goes to every Yankee game and sits there
in the booth and does what Chuck is doing right here. And she captions the public
address. She obviously doesn't do the radio or TV. She does the public address system.
Right below that is, oh , by the way, Yankee Stadium is that extremely large one in center
field, and two more along the first and third baselines. This is a form of open captioning,
clearly. City Field, you can see, if you can squint there, it says take me out with the
crowd, buy me some peanuts and I think you know what follows that and that is where
the captions go. I think they have two of those displays at the new City Field.

The hall at Patriot Place has a wide screen theater, and you can see someone sitting there
with the Soft Tech device watching the captions during the film. But they also have
automated caption distribution throughout the entire environment using infrared triggers,
and you will see a lot more about that in the next presentation. The Washington Red
Skins were first. I have drawn a blue oval around the display. There is one of them on
each side of the stadium, around the 50 yard line, up above the first level of seats. And
they basically caption everything the announcer says. In this case, it says Moss first
down, Washington. There is not an awful lot that goes on during the game, but before the
game and at half time there is a lot of audio, a lot of speech, and you will see all of that
captioned as well.

The Seattle Mariners now and a number of other institutions are beginning to look at
hand held devices for access at stadiums. This is a Nintendo DS. Nintendo is working
with Safeco Field to have their devices available. First and foremost so you can order
food from your seat. Secondly, to send you a message in case there is an emergency.
Third, if you want to complain about a rowdy fan in front of you, but you don't want to
make a stink about it, you can call security on there. And then as it says in the recent
article in a newspaper in Seattle, also new is the network's ability to deliver closed
captioned public announcements in addition to audio radio broadcast. So the Nintendo
DS is a new platform. And they hand them out at Safeco Field.

Yeah, I will stop here. Valerie? Wait for the mic.

Speaker: Are the features on there accessible to people who are visually impaired or just
the audio description that is connected to the radio broadcast?

Larry Goldberg: Yeah, I was actually talking with someone yesterday --

Speaker: That is a no?
Larry Goldberg: Yeah, I mean I am not familiar with the systems, but I am assuming it
is all about captioning for deaf people. That is where most of the suits come from, that is
where most of the pressure has come from, from the deaf and hard of hearing audience.
But so someone asked me recently, well, what about blind people in sports. And the
tradition is, as you well know, is bring a radio and listen to the radio play by play. That is
not necessarily a solution, it is just a tradition that I know many sports fans in the blind
community rely on.

Speaker: So then we don't know if the features like ordering food would be accessible to
someone who is blind.

Larry Goldberg: Don't know. Don't know.

Speaker: Okay, all right. Thank you.

Larry Goldberg: But if you live in one of those cities feel free to ask. The Baltimore
Ravens have just announced that closed captioning of all public address and referee
announcements will be available on any wireless device and on hand held devices fans
can borrow for free from guest services. What this means is that if you have an internet
enabled smart phone like my iPhone, I can go to a website that they have put together and
read right off the website. If you don't have one, because as you know under the ADA
you can't require the disables customer to bring their own accessible devices, they will
provide you with one. I am not sure which one they are providing, but it just enables you
to jump on a website via the Wi-Fi network at the stadium. Pretty interesting.

I can't go on without mentioning Disney, again, and theme parks in general, the World of
Coca-Cola has a new, I guess you can't really call it a museum, I guess an attraction in
Atlanta where they show you everything you ever want to know about Coca-Cola. And
that is where you will find another installation of the Soft Tech hand held device with
captioning and description. As well as Walt Disney World Resorts which has RC, which
is reflective captioning, to us, that is Rear Window. Hand held captioning, closed
captioning on those monitors, and descriptive video. And these devices will handle all of
those. And they have guide books for every one of their theme parks, Magic Kingdom,
Epcot, Animal Kingdom, MGM Studios, and Disneyland, the happiest place on earth.
And all of those places have significant availability of captioning, sign language
interpreting, tactile maps, description, it is all over.

What is wonderful about Disneyland is they are doing most of this without the legal
presence. They started because they were sued by the mother of a deaf child for sign
language, but they have taken off from there. No other theme park does even close to
that, and the pressure doesn't seem to be on them. So I guess in the world of theme parks,
it is Disney or nothing. At least that is what people seem to care about. But Universal
Studios and Six Flags I guess is bankrupt now. But some of the others really need to get
up to speed as well.
So now we can talk a little bit about what is coming, what is good about what is coming,
and we will spend even more time in the next session about what we would like to see,
our own vision for the future. Some very near-term predictions, because I wouldn't try to
guess what is coming further down the line. Holographic displays, so you don't even need
glasses to see captions, lasers that etch words on your eye balls. We won't try to figure
those sorts of things out. We will talk about some of those in the next session which is
called Technology; Envisioning and Adapting, right here in this room.

But definitely what is coming is mobile. Like it or not, and we don't know whether it
really works in all situations. I will tell you some anecdotal evidence. In museums with
stops that you can walk around on, mobile devices seem to make some sense. At movie
theaters for a film that is two hours long, maybe not so much. At a ballpark when you
have got a hot dog in one hand and a beer in the other, which are you going to give up so
you can hold on to that caption device? Hang it on a lanyard around your neck. Sure, that
could work. I don't really actually have the answers. I really do want consumers and
people who live in the cities to really sound off on this, because mobile technology is
coming. It is unavoidable, and it really needs to be done right.

I will talk about one form of mobile device, it is a very interesting story. It is about one
hope that many museum have that they can have a single device that provides all their
multimedia interaction as well as their accessibility. A universally-designed device. And
it should be really slick and very light-weight, very inexpensive, and not breakable, and
serve all people at once. That is the principle of universal design. We all believe in that. It
is really hard to accomplish, though. And the sad tale of MEG, or the future is not what it
used to be. MEG is the Museum Exhibit Guide. It was designed for the Experience Music
Project, now known as the Experience Music Project at the Science Fiction Museum of
Seattle. Anyone here from Seattle?

It is an amazing institution. The building was designed by Frank Geary and all aluminum
exterior, an amazing space, and very hard to make accessible. But Paul Allen, the former
Microsoft billionaire poured a ton of money into this space and decided that he wanted to
do as much as he could for accessibility. And one of the things he really wanted to do is
the state-of-the-art museum guide. So he invented MEG, the Museum Exhibit Guide.
Now this goes back to the late '90s, even mid '90s. The Museum Exhibit Guide consists
of a hard drive that you wore on your waist, that is the device on the background here,
and a tethered display that attaches to it, and then you carry it in your hand. When you
walk into the museum you get a ticket, your ticket is coded with a special code. Anything
that you thought it really interesting as you go through the museum, you point your hand
held device at it and click. That exhibit, whether it is the history of electric guitars or the
history of Jimi Hendrix gets tagged and sent to your personal website that is keyed to
your ticket.

So when you get home you can review all those things that you liked along the way. It is
really quite amazing. In the electric guitar gallery there is an exhibit of every electric
guitar since the first one was invented and with the MEG you can point your device at it
and hear it played by a rock star. For anyone who is into rock-n-roll, this stuff is amazing.
The device wasn't accessible at first, but we worked on making it accessible, because
look at the technology there, you can do virtually anything with it. It had one kind of
flaw, and those of you who worked in museum will appreciate this. It had a 50% failure
rate. And the cost was somewhere at $5,000 a piece. What does Paul Allen care, he had
all the money in the world. But it had to come out of service virtually every other day. It
broke constantly. So the hopes were there, all the resources were there, but MEG didn't
really make it. So the announcement came out on Saturday, April 26, the Experience
Music Project will update its Experience Music Guide and replace it with an iPod. The
audio guide on an iPod. The iPod audio guide will include Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana
jukeboxes, and members will be able to check out iPod audio guides for free.

So they kind of bent to the will, and they bent to the obvious solution at the moment,
which was these pervasively available iPods that are very cheap, and they just put their
audio tours on there. Which is kind of a nice solution. But it is no MEG, that is for sure.
But that brings us to the iPod. And because iPods and iPhones are pretty pervasive in our
culture now, and just recently became significantly more accessible than they started to
be, it is worth spending a few minutes talking about it.

So let me ask in this room how many people have any form of iPod. Wow, you don't
have one? Congratulations. You are deaf? Okay. How many people have iPhones? Oh,
me too. And iPod Touch, which is really the very interesting middle ground there.
Because that is a device that does not need to be telephony, you don't have to pay a
monthly fee, but it can do a lot of stuff. Well, I have here with me the first real talking
device. This is the iPod Shuffle. This was such a neat advance by Apple. The Shuffle is
basically easily swallowable, it is so tiny. It is this itty-bitty one inch by half inch device.
It has no display, and it costs $75. Well, how wonderful. Apple decided to make a device
that makes everyone equally blind. Because there is no display. You have to have audio
feed back, or you can't use it. So I am going to plug it in to my special cable here.
Because one of the interesting things about the Shuffle is you have, you can only control
it by the special button that is on the head phones. And so if you don't have this button,
this little tiny lozenge in my hand you can't control the thing. And because I am not really
good at remembering, I have to pull up my cheat sheet to remember how to turn it on and
off. Okay, the Shuffle controls. Using voice over, and what you do is you take your music
library from your iTunes and say click a button that says please tag all of my iPod songs
with all of the artists names and all of my play lists. And it will actually create digital
audio files and ship them over to your Shuffle. And the title and artist of every single
song and all your play lists are now audible and on your Shuffle.

So first we are going to move between play lists. Press and hold the center button and
release after you here a tone.

[Music]

Okay.

Shuffle audio voice: Claus Oldenburg. Claus Oldenburg. Whitney Museum.
Larry Goldberg: That is my --

Shuffle audio voice: All songs.

Larry Goldberg: That is my demonstration of how --

[Music and inaudible comments]

Shuffle audio voice: Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do. Billie Holiday. All songs. Billie
Holiday, original Decca masters. Bob Dylan, Modern Times. Whitney Museum.

Larry Goldberg: So what I did was put together a play list that mirrored what the
Whitney Museum presently has throughout the museum. And just by creating a play list
and a song I now have titles that say what is going on at the Whitney. You could
ostensibly hand these out with instructions and at very low cost have an audio guide to
just move through the museum. And it has all of the built in navigation. Let's see, go to
next track.

Shuffle audio voice: I am a Loser, the Beatles. You are My Thrill, Billie Holiday. The
Prettiest Thing, Norah Jones. The Prettiest Thing, Norah Jones. All songs. Billie Holiday,
original Decca masters. Bob Dylan, Modern Times. Whitney Museum.

[ Music ]

Larry Goldberg: So anyway, that is how one could adopt a very inexpensive device, the
Shuffle, for doing audio tours. And of course you have to record the tour yourself. Now
the interesting thing about the next generation is oh, by the way that voice over only
exists in the generation of the Shuffle that is this little tiny one. But subsequent to that
Apple came out with voice over on the iPhone.

Now what is ironic about the iPhone is as exciting as it is or was, to the blind community,
it was the most inaccessible phone that has ever existed. It is basically a brick. A dead
space with absolutely no, there is a few buttons on here, but they are useless if you can't
see until Apple decided to put voice over into the iPhone. So I am going to try to
demonstrate a little bit. And I have tried doing this before with a, demonstrating it, will
give it a shot.

I am going to hold it up to my camera so you can watch me do this. Bear with me. Might
be a little bit too ambitious, because I actually have to work backwards to show the
demonstration on the camera. We will try. I seem to have lost my Quicktime. Let me try
something else here.

I think I am going to give up on the suggestion of showing it off on my camera. You can
come up afterwards and play with it, with me. But I am going to turn on what is now
called voice over on the iPhone. And if you have the 3GS, and it is only the brand new
absolute latest iPhone that has accessibility built in. You go to your general settings, and
there is one for accessibility, and one that says voice over. It also can zoom, give you
contrast, controls, and other things. But voice over --

iPhone audio voice: Voice over on. Settings, accessibility, button.

Larry Goldberg: And basically it now gives --

iPhone audio voice: Accessibility, general. General, settings, button, settings, button,
settings, home.

[Multiple voices speaking]

Larry Goldberg: So if you have seen a --

[Multiple voices speaking]

Larry Goldberg: If you have seen an iPhone screen there is a homepage, and if you turn
on voice over, basically as you move your finger around --

iPhone audio voice: ITunes, navs, double-tap to open. Messages, contacts, notes,
double-tap to open.

Larry Goldberg: And anything you land on, you then just double-tap the screen
anywhere and it opens it up.

iPhone audio voice: Notes, notes. Button.

Larry Goldberg: And then you can have it read the screen. And there is always the
home button. So now that all of the buttons and all of the aspects on the iPhone can be
sonified, can be turned into accessible buttons. You have an opportunity to consider using
this device because navigation is one of the toughest parts on portable devices. Any of
these special versions from Antenna Audio or anyone else, the navigation is the hardest
thing. But the iPhone can actually do it now.

iPhone audio voice: Standard, weather, double-tap to open.

Larry Goldberg: Here is some weather.

iPhone audio voice: Weather, high 90, high 88 degrees, Fahrenheit, low 68 degrees
Fahrenheit.

Larry Goldberg: And I can just have it read and it uses something called a gestural
interface. Use one finger and you swipe up or down, two fingers, three fingers, up and
down. And you have to learn these different strokes. Two fingers down reads the whole
screen.
iPhone audio voice: High 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Low, 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Currently
partly cloudy, currently 89 degrees Fahrenheit. Saturday, clear and sunny. High 88
degrees Fahrenheit, low 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Sunday, clear and sunny. High 91 degrees
Fahrenheit, low 66 degrees Fahrenheit.

Larry Goldberg: Two fingers double-tap shuts it up. And there i a series of those kinds
of instructions that you need to know. And also know how to get back out. The basic
issue is, you put your finger anywhere and it will even tell you things that you can't even
see. Like you noticed there is an icon for a sun, and is said clear and sunny. So someone
actually tagged that button. And the stocks, it tells you even more than you can see.

iPhone audio voice: Stocks, Dow Jones industrial average, 9321.40, down minus 76.79.
Change of minus 0.82%.

Larry Goldberg: So it actually read out some hidden data in there as well. So it is an
interesting platform for development, and also because the iPhone developer's kit gives
you an opportunity to add a lot of things to what a standard iPhone comes with. It does
make an interesting platform for potential uses. Whether it is good for the particular need
of your museum or for what you are trying to make happen still remains to be seen. I
think we need to talk a lot more about that.

It is not cutting edge, it is not brilliant, but it is obvious common sense that advanced
materials on line are really a key use of technology. Many museum are doing this
already, I saw some really interesting examples from the Dayton Art Institute and the
Walker Art Museum. For orientation to help people who are going to come visit your
museum, to give them a sense of what they are going to see and where they are going to
find it, providing advance description of certain art works so they can have a greater
appreciation before they go to the museum. Providing scripts of any audio or video that is
going to be there. So that someone can listen to it in advance and have less trouble
gathering the information when they get to the museum, makes an awful lot of sense for
people who are deaf or blind. Even the captions in advance. Particularly in an exhibit like
at the Whitney in the biennial, where the video art can be quite interesting, conceptual,
and innovative. To provide some of that information before you get to the museum could
be extremely useful, because when you get there it could be pretty tough.

At the bottom of the screen I put in important parens, and of course accessible. Because
museums are still learning about how to make accessible websites. You heard a little bit
about that today from the Justice Department. But because of the nature of the art work
that does appear on many museum websites they sometimes tend to neglect the
accessibility. Web access has been a common practice for almost ten years now, but still
a lot of hand-holding is needed and a lot of resources are truly available. Sharon Rush
from Texas is doing all day web accessibility seminars in a room near by, and she will
give you a quick analysis for a website. But more in depth, there is lots of other
organizations that can really help build and rebuild websites accessibly.
The New England Aquarium has a really nice advance media exhibit where they show
little videos. They are all captioned. You can watch, download, bring them with you.
There are PDFs that can be downloaded. So you can create your own access from the
tools that they provide online. Giving some tools on availability. And then when people
get there you can enhance that with what you are going to be providing at the door. Just
to talk about some really interesting technologies that are further out. I don't know that
everyone has experimented with it yet, but I like the idea of directed audio or hyper
audio. Has anyone seen or worked with this before?

Well, you know the concept, Beth, you have? The concept of laser light is, is that it is a
coherent form of light. All one frequency. So folks I believe at MIT invented a way of
projecting sound across large distances using a form of interference with the sound and
ultra sound so that you could pin point someone on the far end of a room so only they can
hear a certain form of audio. It is kind of like the sound domes you might see over, been
around for years, stand in front of an exhibit, the dome points the audio just on you. This
directed audio had certain military implications, but now commercially available. So
imagine that instead of trying to feed someone by infrared or FM to a headset or an iPod,
you can just focus a beam of audio on them. When they stop in front of a painting all of a
sudden they will start hearing things no one else is hearing. Hearing voices will really
have some meaning there. Beth, are there installations you know that are using this in the
arts world? Sorry.

Speaker: We used it in an exhibition Whatever Happened to Polio? And we had these
audio spotlights in different locations throughout the exhibition. It was a one-gallery
exhibition. And then we actually did a tactile spot on the floor so people would know
where the sweet spot was for the sound. But it is interesting, because I actually had Kay
come and test it out, and Kay has a hearing loss. And it would be interesting for her to
comment on -- do you remember it? Yeah.

[Inaudible audience comment]

Well, when Kay tried it out there was, her comment was the volume, because you can't
control the volume, but it was also and it depends in an exhibition space on how many
people you have in the space. So actually the more people in the space is somewhat better
with the audio spotlight. And it was also the choice of voice. We had a female narrator
rather than a male narrator. And I think that the -- the tone didn't come across as clearly
as we had hoped. But it was an interesting experiment. I mean it really is very focused.
But it does in an exhibition, a number of people in the space impacts it.

Larry Goldberg: Really. I think really bears some attention, some more research. Of
course I was thinking of it more for people who are blind. But if it can be, the volume can
be adjusted loudly enough it can help people with hearing impairments as well. I think it
could be really interesting. Certainly interesting for uses in art work itself. So I am
interested in the audio spotlight. I think it is just a cool technology.
But in terms of further out technologies, we are going to talk a little bit more in the next
session. We are getting a little bit closer to the time when this one is ending. So we have
some time for questions now and then we will take a break.

My contact information is up on the screen. If you don't have vision, simply e-mail me at
Larry_Goldberg -- G-O-L-D-B-E-R-G -- at WGBH.org.

And now we have time for some questions. Way in the corner.

Speaker: In the – I am Eric Aldridge from the Library of Congress. And in the lunch
time session I only had two minutes. But there is, I wanted to explain a little bit about the
technology that we are using there. It doesn't work as well for people who, who are blind
or have low vision, but we now have touch screen kiosks throughout the Great Hall of the
Jefferson. And it has had a couple really good effects. One is that when you go up to
these kiosks and you touch the screens things that are three stories up in our building are
then located, and you can actually see images brought to you closer. And so that has
been, that has been very useful in that regard for people with low vision. The other thing
that has been very interesting is that people with cognitive disabilities, they find our
building too over-stimulating. And they found that the touch screen technology allowed
them to focus in on what they could see. And those were two things that maybe you could
focus on.

Larry Goldberg: Yeah, touch screens have always been a bear. There is no universal
way. The easy access keys are nice when you can add them. Very large tactile buttons
that point left, right, up, down, and enter. But there is still a lot of work to be done on it
and I think on the touch screens. As you know, Apple did and as Google is doing with the
android phone. They have a very top-expert blind researcher figuring out ways of making
the Google phone accessible through touch. It is an interesting research he is doing as
well.

Oh Arlene?

Speaker: I am Arlene that Larry mentioned. I am from New Jersey, and I am deaf. I use
cochlear implants, and as Larry knows and other people know, I am a very big fan of the
Rear Window captioning. In New Jersey we have a lot of theaters that have Rear Window
captioning, probably more theaters than anywhere else.

So that said, in this particular conference there hasn't been any workshop on universal
access which there have been in the past. For people with hearing loss universal access is
open captioning and Rear Window captioning was developed because there was
objections by the motion picture industry to show open captioning. That hasn't really
been the case with live theater, where open captioning has been receptively received. And
not only that, it is universal access. It does reach people and help people who never
thought they needed that kind of assistance, that you have your aging baby boomers, you
have your senior population, and when that captioning is out there open, people really
enjoy it. And I go to the theater a lot, always with my hearing husband and other people
who are hearing, and they always love coming with me because they get every word.

But as far as universal access is concerned, in your museums, in your national parks,
which are all educational in nature, there seems to be this idea that people should hide the
captions. You really don't want to have those captions seen by everybody. And that is
really very misguided. Because you are an educational institution, the captions provide
information, universal access in a way that just reaches everybody. Whether people are
non-native English speakers, whether they are school children, and it also removes
barriers so that it is just there.

So I know we have had this conversation and Larry is very, very helpful in providing you
with the access you think you need. But all too often he will tell me that, well, the
museum or whatever doesn't want to show the captioning. And I said, but they are not
really thinking this through correctly. They should be wanting to show the captioning. It
should be there. And a case in point was when I went to Independence National Park in
Philadelphia where the Liberty Bell is. Now the Liberty Bell Pavilion has open
captioning on their video. But the visitor's center had two screens that had Rear Window
captioning. That meant you had to get the panel, put it in, it happened not to be working.
That was a quirk. But to put that extra hurdle in front of people. And that video had
names, locations, all sorts of things people there who were non-native English speakers,
all those situations, your museums, your national parks, that should all be open. Don't
give Larry a fight, I need this Rear Window captioning. It should be out there. Out there.
And I have had my say.

Larry Goldberg: Thank you. We have time for just I think one more or two more quick
questions. And Bob Carr had his hand up. Did you want to reply to Arlene?

Speaker: Just to say let's talk more about this if you want to come to the next section, we
will keep going on questions of open captioning and mobile technology because they are
two sides of the same question.

Larry Goldberg: Robert Carr from the New Jersey Theater Alliance. This may be a
question for the next one, but would you know offhand if -- you mentioned something
before about having problems, people would rather use line of sight than FM. Is anybody
using Bluetooth at all in that same kind of application?

Speaker: I would ask Trey about that, but I think Bluetooth is a little bit too limited in
terms of range.

Larry Goldberg: In range, yeah. That was --

Speaker: But interesting, because in some situations you do want to limit range.
Larry Goldberg: That was my question. Because with the FM you could have the leak.
And with line of sight you know, sometimes you can get out of that lined of sight and you
know, even line of sight can be a little --

Speaker: Yes, and we do have problems with leakage even in IR, infrared, so --

Speaker: I would just say that -- I don't think this is on. Here it is now. Yeah, Bluetooth
has a range of about 33 feet. It might do better, you know, might do worse, depending on
environment. But you can change the frequency on FM. Say you have a 13-theater
multiplex. You can have 13 different frequencies on the FM that would prevent a lot of
that bleed-over that you are talking about. So some of the installations we have seen and
Disney is an example of this, and their park, they use multiple FM receivers, and then
based on the location of our device it tunes to that particular frequency to receive it at that
time. Just a little clarity.

Larry Goldberg: Smart radio technology.

Speaker: We have time for one more quick question, then we have to wrap up this
portion of the session. But remember the conversation will continue with Larry and Trey
after a 15-minute break. So you, you have the last word in this session.

Speaker: Yeah hi. I am with the National Gallery of Art, and we are starting to get into
more caption activities. I was wondering if you have been approached with organizations
or programs that are foreign language sourced in nature, booking overseas films, or even
silent films with foreign -- with foreign -- with [Inaudible] inner titles, and the front end
work to get proper captioning in place and this is for accessibility for all patrons on top
of, you know, those, those who might otherwise need assistance.

The other thing that mentioned a couple of times was in reference to film programs and
the fact that DVDs were available that were captioned, we pride ourselves on trying to
show the classic films in the original film formats. Sometimes quite often we will be
running collections of the Library of Congress and the original 35 millimeter film, and so
on. So requires a different level of prep in our experience for that. And I would imagine
that programs are still being developed for a little bit more realtime use of that, like the
open captioning right there. If the -- if the -- if the original media is in a different
language, I am not sure if there is a practical way to actually have it presented in realtime
and translated. That is probably asking the brain to do a little bit too much in realtime.
But, anyway, just want to know if you have any comment on that.

Larry Goldberg: Yeah, they are all great issues, and I really have promised, I have
already met some of your colleagues from National Gallery. We take up the issue of
classic films one time only, it is not going to be there for a long time. There are definitely
technical solutions, also to make the words look a lot prettier than this. Because the
aesthetic part of it is important.
If you were showing Citizen Kane in the original 35 millimeter that wouldn't stop you
from running the DVD on a separate screen with just the titles down there. You have got
the original, beautiful print. But you can have a separate monitor, separate screen. Or
even project the titles over that. So many old movies and so many even other languages,
those caption files exist. They have been captioned. Either in ways that are readily
available off of a DVD, or from a bank of captioned files that have been archived by my
organization and our main caption vendor competitors.

So I do want to talk to you about the notion of being able to get instant access to captions
from all kinds of movies and have them readily available to you. And then the question is
how do you want to display them. You know, what is the look and feel of the display.
The really interesting and tough one is the blind community. Going to a foreign film with
English subtitles. Because what is the point? If you don't speak the original language of
the film and all the English words are appearing on the screen. Great for the deaf folks.
Not so great for the blind folks. And we have actually done some description of foreign
movies, including that Mel Brooks movie a couple of years ago, what was the name – I
am forgetting now. The which?

Speaker: She said Silent Movie.

Larry Goldberg: No, no, Mel brooks. I meant Mel Gibson. I always make that mistake.

[Laughter]

Speaker: That is a different story.

Larry Goldberg: Silent Movie was really easy to caption. The Passion. The Passion. So,
so much of that had Aramaic with English subtitles. And the imagery was quite rich. We
actually had two different voices describing that film. One reading the titles, one
describing the image. Mix them together in production. You can get that disc now with
description on it, it is quite an experience. The movie itself is quite an experience.

The reading out of the subtitles is a very important question, and my friend from Israel
and I are going to work on this one, because subtitling in any country outside the United
States is really common. But it leaves out the blind community who doesn't understand
the original language. So they have to have the titles read out, and the images described at
the same time. It is an interesting challenge, but we will talk more about that in our
second half.

Speaker: We have to take a 15-minute break, and if you aren't coming back please do fill
out the evaluation forms. There is some pink ones on some tables, and there is some
yellow ones up here in the front. And go have a break. And thank Larry for this
wonderful session.

								
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