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New Movie Tech for the Blind and Deaf, Actiview, Launches with Disney’s Cars 3

New Movie Tech for the Blind and Deaf, Actiview, Launches with Disney’s Cars 3

If you’re blind or visually impaired, you know that going to the movies isn’t as simple as smothering your popcorn in butter and leaning back in a cushy chair. While you wait thirty minutes for the manager to locate and set up assistive devices, you’ve already missed the beginning of the movie — if the device even functions properly.

But over the last year, LightHouse partner Actiview designed and prototyped a mobile solution to this problem within the walls of the LightHouse headquarters, and even 3D printed their streaming devices in our Toyota Innovation Tech Lab as part of our startup accelerator. They have since moved their base to our Berkeley satellite location.

On June 16, Actiview launched in the App Store to offer widespread accessibility for the summer Pixar release of Cars 3.

The team and their direction were influenced by many hours of feedback from LightHouse blind staff. We supported Actiview through their beta version because we think it is a huge step in the right direction towards accessibility for all moviegoers.

There is a strong buzz about this new technology as the wider community understands that Actiview will be able to provide affordable access to thousands of movie screens. Last week, industry reporter TechCrunch wrote a fascinating feature on this LightHouse-supported technology. You can read the whole story here. 

The newest release from Disney•Pixar, Cars 3, will be fully supported by the Actiview app, delivering both amplified audio and audio description, free of charge, to anyone who downloads the app and shows up at the theater. Audio description is for blind users, with a voiceover track describing what is happening on screen. Amplified audio takes the audio of the movie and makes the dialogue clearer and louder, for hard of hearing attendees.

Here’s what to know:

  • Available on the App Store (http://appstore.com/activiewempoweredentertainment)
  • Audio Description for Blind and Low Vision
  • Amplified audio for Hard of Hearing
  • Captions and Languages coming soon
  • Works with Cars 3 in all US theaters
  • Assistive services are free

How to use Actiview:

  1. Download the Actiview App from the App Store.
  2. On June 16, Cars 3 assistive audio (assistive tracks will be available to for download in advance. Download over Wi-Fi before getting to the theater if you want to save on data use)
  3. Go to the Cars 3 screening of your choice, open the app, and choose either Audio Description, Amplified Audio or the two tracks combined.
  4. Give us your feedback by emailing comments to team@actiview.co or by calling our hotline at 1(844)-399-2789 to sound off!

Please note: The first time a user opens the app, there is a 30-second tutorial helping the user to understand how to navigate the app which requires headphones to go through.

Now Available at Adaptations: Next Generation Braille Apple Manuals

Now Available at Adaptations: Next Generation Braille Apple Manuals

The LightHouse Media and Accessible Design Lab (MAD Lab) is the sole translator for authorized braille versions of a variety of Apple User’s Guides. Earlier this year, Apple commissioned the MAD Lab to translate a few of their new manuals into braille. This week, as the culmination of several months of work, free Braille Ready Files (BRFs) are available online. You may also purchase embossed versions of these manuals in our Adaptations Store.

Call 1-888-400-8933 today to order one of the following manuals in braille at the standard braille (rates may vary based on number of printed volumes):

  • Apple Watch User Guides
  • iPhone iOS User Guides
  • Apple TV User Guides
  • Mac OS with VoiceOver User Guides

For blind braille readers who use Apple products, this is a huge step towards tech literacy. The iOS manuals provide detailed insight into optimizing these products and leveraging the accessible features for personal and professional use. The embossed manuals offer a complete set of directions on how to use each Apple operating system, intelligently organized into multiple volumes of interpoint Braille.

Adaptations also carries a wide variety of low-vision and blindness products, including talking watches and alarm clocks, games, kitchen products, braille supplies and much, much more. Get in touch with us at (415) 694-7301 or adaptations@lighthouse-sf.org, or stop by our store between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Get even more familiar with your Apple products by attending a FREE weekly Access Tech Training at our headquarters on Tuesdays between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. and Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. To make an appointment, contact Access Technology Coordinator Shen Kuan at skuan@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7312.

Giving Voice: Michele Spitz supports LightHouse, extraordinary filmmakers, burgeoning artists and Superfest 2016

Giving Voice: Michele Spitz supports LightHouse, extraordinary filmmakers, burgeoning artists and Superfest 2016

Professional voiceover artist and lifelong patron of the arts Michele Spitz is dedicated to making the world more accessible to people with disabilities by providing her vocal talents to filmmakers, publishers, speaking venues and charitable organizations. Wherever Michele’s voice is, her heart is also: short and full length documentaries, feature films, children’s programming, museums, industrial videos, audio manuals and PSAs.

Michele is most passionate about her audio description work for the visually impaired — having voiced 37 films including documentary features. In addition to Michele’s audio description work, she also personally underwrites hundreds of patron attendance tickets, as well as artist interactive programs for the performing, visual and cultural arts world. This underwriting program serves: disabled, seniors, veterans and underserved communities.

Michele has also provided her voice for our Superfest International Disability Film Festival, as well as for our headquarters — hers is the voice you hear on our phone system’s recorded greeting!

In light of her unyielding support of LightHouse programs and the growing relevance of audio description as a force in media, Michele sat down with LightHouse’s Paul Blaney to discuss her passion for art and her unwavering support for those with disabilities.

LightHouse: Why is supporting artists with disabilities important to you?

Michele: Art is healing; we can all identify something in art that resonates within us. However, for the blind community, access to visual art can be challenging. It is my hope to ensure that visual art is appealing and accessible to everyone.

LightHouse: What drew you to LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired?

Michele: LightHouse for the Blind is leading the way for those with blindness or low vision and supports the quest to identify and build community. Through trailblazing programs, resources, guides and activities geared specifically for blind people, LightHouse reinforces the need for accessible and meaningful support.

LightHouse: What important message would you like to convey to those unfamiliar with artists with disabilities?

Michele: Living with a disability should not prevent one from accessing and appreciating art. It is my hope (through audio description and underwriting performing arts programming) to expand awareness of the blind community, so everyone can deepen their enjoyment of art.

LightHouse: How do you select your audio description projects?

Michele: I often ask myself: ‘What haven’t I covered? What can I do next to support people living with disabilities?’ I want to be involved with projects that raise awareness and connect people to their community. Often, it’s lack of exposure that prohibits people from understanding the nuances of the art world. It’s my job to break stereotypes and give people ample opportunities to explore for themselves the interplay between art and humanity.

LightHouse: What are your future plans for working with the disability community?

Michele: I will continue to pursue partnerships with artists who push the envelope in developing projects with and for the disability community. My goal is to forge long-lasting relationships reflective of my passion for the arts, my desire to heighten awareness and, in doing so, attract more people to the cause.

LightHouse: Thank you for chatting with us Michele!

You may read more about Michele’s work at womanofherword.com.

Michele Spitz "Woman of Her Word" Logo