VITAC Proud to be Part of the 2021 XR Access Symposium

By: David Titmus
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VITAC was thrilled to be a part of the 2021 XR Access Symposium.

“XR” is an umbrella term encompassing virtual, augmented, and mixed reality technologies. (Think all those cool virtual reality goggles and glasses advertised on TV these days.) XR Access is a community that strives to modernize, innovate, and expand XR technologies, products, content, and assistive technologies by promoting inclusive design for people of all abilities.

The virtual symposium, now in its third year, featured keynote speaker Chike Aguh, Chief Innovation Officer, U.S. Department of Labor, and multiple plenary panels on, among other things, building accessible technologies, creating an inclusive XR ecosystem, and ensuring diverse talent pipelines.

VITAC  provided captions for the symposium, and took part in a breakout discussion focused on the best practices for captions in immersive media, and the technical changes required to make them commonplace.

The items discussed included:

  • Where to display captions in a virtual setting? On a TV, for instance, captions can be placed near the speaker or in the center of a screen. In the XR world, there is no true center and speakers may be anywhere in the virtual landscape.
  • How to spatially identify where the speaker is located in the extended reality world?
  • How to decide who is captioned? If a character or person in the XR world is too far away to be heard by one user, but close enough to another, how is that sound conveyed? Who decides what is audible?

Though the answers to these and other questions may still be in the future, the possibilities are endless and exciting.