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London's Hairspray Performance Gets Live Captions In Eight Languages

Cambridge Consultants, a technology development company, has unveiled a device called AirScript, which allows theatre audiences to read live captions of a performance in 8 different languages.

The developers of AirScript hope that their gadget will encourage more tourists to visit theatres as understanding a performance will hardly remain a problem anymore.

AirScript receives captions through a WiFi connection that scroll throughout the live performance. It also comes with a backlight for the screen which displays orange colored text to reduce screen-glare. The device comes with a battery life of 6 hours.

The Shaftesbury Theatre in London, currently playing Hairspray, has become the first theater to install these devices and members of the audience will have to shell out £6 every time they use the device.

Airscript is essentially a wireless thin-client tablet computer and even the script, which is available in Spanish, French, German, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Italian, is not stored on it.

Talking to BBC, David Bradshaw the group leader of the Software Technology Group of Cambridge Consultants complained that it was difficult for his company to get theatres on board with this revolutionary technology. He added that the biggest obstacle for them was to place screens in the theatre that don’t distract the audience from the play.

Our Comments

An innovative piece of technology that is likely to be a success elsewhere - Broadway springs to mind. Unfortunately, the audience's attention will have to continuously move between the screen and the performance.

Related Links

Cambridge Consultants unveils world's first closed caption system for theatre

(Business Weekly)

Wireless translations for West End shows on the way?

(Tech Digest)

Device overcomes language barrier

(Google News)

Hairspray Gets Subtitles

(Show And Stay)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.