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Enhancing movie comprehension for individuals who are visually impaired or blind

Description

Typically, the complete loss or severe impairment of a sense such as vision and/or hearing is compensated through sensory substitution, i.e., the use of an alternative sense for receiving the same information. For individuals who are blind or visually impaired,

Typically, the complete loss or severe impairment of a sense such as vision and/or hearing is compensated through sensory substitution, i.e., the use of an alternative sense for receiving the same information. For individuals who are blind or visually impaired, the alternative senses have predominantly been hearing and touch. For movies, visual content has been made accessible to visually impaired viewers through audio descriptions -- an additional narration that describes scenes, the characters involved and other pertinent details. However, as audio descriptions should not overlap with dialogue, sound effects and musical scores, there is limited time to convey information, often resulting in stunted and abridged descriptions that leave out many important visual cues and concepts. This work proposes a promising multimodal approach to sensory substitution for movies by providing complementary information through haptics, pertaining to the positions and movements of actors, in addition to a film's audio description and audio content. In a ten-minute presentation of five movie clips to ten individuals who were visually impaired or blind, the novel methodology was found to provide an almost two time increase in the perception of actors' movements in scenes. Moreover, participants appreciated and found useful the overall concept of providing a visual perspective to film through haptics.

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Date Created
2011