The New England Patriots Hall of Fame in Foxborough, Mass., is installing a listening and closed-captioning system that will allow people with disabilities to experience the museum in much the same fashion as visitors who are not disabled. An article in The Boston Globe says the hand-held devices are pocket computers that pick up infrared or FM radio signals beamed from transmitters in the ceiling. The system tracks visitors as they move about, triggering audio descriptions for the blind and closed captioning or enhanced audio for those with hearing problems. One of the more popular exhibits is a re-created huddle that includes life-size statues of players and quarterback Tom Brady calling a play. Visitors can stand in the huddle and hear Brady bark instructions. For a visitor who is deaf, the hand-held device runs closed captioning at the same time Brady is speaking. Visitors who have partial hearing can wear headphones that receive enhanced audio from an FM transmitter. For those who are visually impaired, the device describes the scene in the huddle. The system is one similar to the one used at Disney World, which I recently wrote about for BusinessWeek.com. All in all, not many sports establishments think about disability when designing new stadiums and museums, so this is great to read about. The museum admission is $10 and the devices are free to use.
Patriots’ Museum Lets Deaf, Blind Experience Football
January 26 2009 | by Suzanne Robitaille