This New Technology Allows The Blind To ‘Watch’ TV


London: Scientists have developed a new, ground-breaking software that allows deaf and blind people to enjoy television content in real time without any intermediaries. The software, PervasiveSUB, compiles all the subtitles of television channels and sends them to a central server which forwards them to smartphones or tablets.

They are sent to the Braille line of the deaf-blind person using an app that is compatible with different Braille lines and makes it possible to control the speed of the subtitles that are captured directly from the TV broadcast in perfect synchronisation.

The software, developed by researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and Federation of Deaf-Blind Persons Associations (FASOCIDE) in Spain, was tested by a group of deaf-blind users.

Users highlighted the advantage of being able to access information they previously could not, in real time and without intermediaries.

They have also praised its ability to transmit to Braille lines and the ability to adjust the reading and viewing speed. Deaf-blind persons suffer a combined deterioration of sight and hearing, which impedes their access to information, communication and mobility in a way that seriously affects everyday abilities necessary for a minimally independent life.

This is why they require specialised services, personnel trained specifically to care for them and special methods of communication.

To interact with their surroundings, they need the constant presence of an interpreter through whom any visual or auditory stimuli must pass.

The technology has already been implemented on various Spanish channels in Madrid, and it will soon be available in the other autonomous regions of Spain. Researchers  are now providing the service free of charge to anyone who needs it.