Moverio BT-200 helps Dogood offer an enhanced theatre experience

Smart glasses help the hearing-impaired enjoy performances

For the last five years Per Liljeqvist has run the organisation Dogood, which works to improve the theatre experience for people with impaired hearing and sight. The software that they have developed makes it possible for those with impaired hearing to read subtitles, in real time, on their mobile phones during a play.

Dogood's solution is presently being used by Riksteatern and several other theatres in Sweden and Finland to assist people with impaired hearing. In addition to this, it's also being used for shows that are performed in a foreign language, and the Swedish Royal Opera also uses Dogood's software for subtitling.

Per Liljeqvist is always seeking ways to make his software more flexible and as easy as possible to use, so the idea of installing the program into a pair of smart glasses was always always intriguing.

"For some time, I have wanted to test our solution in a pair of smart glasses, allowing the user to focus on the stage, rather than looking down at their telephone," says Per Liljeqvist. "Therefore I have followed the development of smart glasses very carefully and saw an example from Italy, where the first version of their smart glasses, Moverio BT-100, was used."

A functional, user-friendly interface

The KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm offered the company the opportunity to send a project proposal to their Software Construction course, using Epson's newer Moverio BT-200 smart glasses. The assignment Per gave to the KTH students was based on a user perspective. Their task was to develop a user-friendly and functioning interface, based on existing software built into the smart glasses. Joy Alam was one of the students that chose to work on Per's project proposal.
 
"I became interested in the project proposal as it felt exciting to work with new technology in the form of a pair of smart glasses and to develop an application for them," she says. "It was also inspiring to work on a proposal that can help to really make a difference to people's lives."

Very positive reactions

They carried out a number of tests at Dramaten and invited people with impaired hearing to participate and evaluate the software and the smart glasses.

"We received very positive reactions from Dramaten, KTH and the users, who all considered the solution to be very flexible and easy to use," reports Joy Alam.

Per Liljeqvist adds, "It was very pleasing to hear all the positive reactions from the test group. I now intend to continue developing the solution and my hope is that it will be implemented in several theatres in the near future."

Subtitling solutions for smart glasses

In order to keep pace with the rapid development of smartphones and other hardware, Dogood has developed a system of standardised hardware components. The next step in their development is to create subtitling solutions for smart glasses.

KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm is the largest and oldest technical university in Sweden and is responsible for a third of Sweden's technical research capacity and engineer education at university level. The aim of the course ‘Software Construction’ was to help students to gain a deeper knowledge of software development.