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View Full Version : BLV/Hearing Impaired assistive tech news!


kwitcherkicken99
06-23-2010, 08:34 AM
Not sure if everyone has seen this yet, but I read this on Stitch Kingdom this morning: (P.S. - I copied the story, not the link as I know some screen-reading software has difficulty reading the DIS)

Disney Unveils First-of-its-Kind Outdoor Audio Description Technology for Guests with Disabilities (http://www.stitchkingdom.com/disney-news/theme-parks/disney-unveils-firstofitskind-outdoor-audio-description-technology-guests-disabilities/)
Posted: 22 Jun 2010 05:58 PM PDT
Beginning June 27, guests with visual disabilities will be able to explore Walt Disney World theme parks in a whole new way through an enhanced Disney-designed device that provides detailed audio description of outdoor areas and fits in the palm of a guest’s hand.

“Disney Parks have long been at the forefront of providing accessibility for guests with disabilities,” said Greg Hale, chief safety officer and vice president of Worldwide Safety and Accessibility for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. “We are pleased to build on this legacy with new technology that enables us to do something that has never been done before – provide rich audio description in moving rides and outdoor environments.”

Via an interactive audio menu, the newly enhanced Assistive Technology Device lets guests choose the type of information they would like to receive about outdoor areas, from architectural elements to the location of the nearest restroom. The 7.2-ounce device, which utilizes wireless technology to pinpoint its location and take pre-programmed actions, also offers guests at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort:

Detailed audio description of key visual elements, including action and scenery, for more than 50 attractions
Amplified audio for most theater-type attractions for guests with mild to moderate hearing loss
Handheld captioning that enables guests to read captions while enjoying specific rides
Activation of closed captioning in pre-show areas where television displays narrate the upcoming experience.
“I know of no other public space in this country – or anywhere else for that matter – that is as welcoming and accessible to people with disabilities as Disney’s theme parks,” said Larry Goldberg, director of media access at WGBH Boston, which is considered a pioneer in developing multimedia and new technologies that make media accessible for the disabled. “With their captioning systems for guests who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and now outdoor environmental description for guests who are blind or visually impaired, Walt Disney World is now more inclusive than ever. WGBH is proud of our role in helping make this happen.”

WGBH teamed up with Disney to deliver outdoor audio description, marking the latest collaboration between the two organizations, which began with the installation of WGBH’s Rear Window® Captioning system in Disney’s theater-based attractions in1996.

Disney has patented and licensed the assistive technology, which could serve a wide variety of retail, commercial and industrial applications. The technology is already being used at the World of Coca Cola Museum, The Hall at Patriot Place and the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and will receive the National Society of Professional Engineers 2010 “New Product Award” next month.

“We are particularly excited to make this technology available beyond Disney Parks and extend accessibility where it was previously impractical,” added Hale. Softeq Development Corporation is licensed to make the technology available beyond Disney Parks.


The Handheld Assistive Device is offered at no cost with a refundable deposit at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort theme parks. Audio description of outdoor areas will be available at Disneyland Resort next year. For further information about services for guests with disabilities, guests should visit the Walt Disney World Web site at disneyworld.com or contact Walt Disney World Information at 407-824-4321 (voice) or 407-827-5141 (TTY).

My supervisor, a Blind/Low Vision consultant for education, told me of the development of the BLV assistive tech for the parks and I was wondering when it would be put out in the parks. My biggest question about the BLV handhelds was if Disney was going to use the base technology from the Pal Mickey's as the triggers for the handhelds?!?

LockShockBarrel
06-23-2010, 10:25 PM
I just posted this on the other part of the disabilities board. I got my link from allears.net if you're interested.

Earstou
06-24-2010, 10:58 AM
I'll be interested in trying this out whenever I get to WDW next (no plans so far :sad1:).
I always have trouble understanding amplified speech, with my 2 hearing aides, so wondering if this will help. The closed captioning part definitely will!