The Immersive Accessibility Project (ImAc) funded by the European Union’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 was presented at this year’s M-Enabling Summit in Washington DC (June 11-13th 2018). This 30-month project is exploring the user requirements of people with sight and hearing loss in the context of consuming 360 degree content and understanding how traditional access tools such as audio description, subtitles and sign language can be adapted for content produced in this format.
The Project was presented as part of a panel discussion on ‘Entertainment for Independent Living’ which drew attention to accessible entertainment activities best support independent living today and which improvements should be prioritised by consumer technology products manufacturers and contents and services providers.
The session was chaired Susan Mazrui, Director, Public Policy, AT&T and included the following panelists:
- Peter Korn, Director of Accessibility, Amazon Lab126
- Luis Mauch, Coordinator, Mais Diferenças and Ktalise (Brazil)
- Dmitry Polikanov, President, Con-nection Deaf-blind Support Fund (Russian Federation)
- Sonali Rai, Broadcast Relationships and Audio Description Manager-Innovation and Relationships, Royal National Institute of Blind People (ImAc European Project)
Among other aspects on access to content, ImAc talked of its plan to design a prototyping platform and follow a user-centric approach to allow viewers who use assistive technologies to access the services that they require and in the format they prefer. The project will match these requirements to the possibilities within the current and developing technologies; to do so, ImAc will involve end users, content editors and producers, sound designers and technologists through the course of the project. This will be crucial for meaningful developments and later, for technology deployment.
“Empowering users by enabling them to directly control immersive media and interact with the environment themselves can boost user confidence and lead to independent living,” said Sonali Rai, Audio Description Manager at the Royal National Institute of Blind People, UK’s Sight Loss Charity. “This platform opens the door for the development of future services which will no doubt improve quality of life for those with mobility or communication restrictions.”
More about ImAc
The ImAc Project is being led by i2CAT with project partners Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, University of Salford, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, Corporacio Catalana de Mitjans Audiovisuals SA, Institut für Rundfunktechnik Gmbh, Motion Spell , Anglatecnic SLand the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
More about M-enabling Summit
Bringing together professionals, corporations, service organizations, and key thought leaders, the M-enabling Summit is an all-inclusive conference and showcase featuring innovative technology, mobile applications, connected devices, and services for more than one-billion users worldwide.