Wednesday, 04 May 2011 10:20

Auslan goes Android at Sports Museum


Australia's National Sports Museum is using Android to deliver Auslan and caption versions of audio descriptions to Deaf and hearing impaired visitors.

An 18-month project involving the National Sports Museum in Melbourne and Australian Communication Exchange (ACE) has yielded Auslan descriptions delivered through Android devices. Visitors can borrow one of six devices provided by the museum, or run the application on their own smartphone or tablet.


The free application scans QR codes attached to exhibits to trigger the display of the appropriate Auslan movie and accompanying captions.

"The Smart Auslan project with the National Sports Museum is a breakthrough in exhibition accessibility for Deaf and hearing impaired Australians," said ACE CEO Sandy Gilliland. "This partnership is part our ongoing commitment to deliver quality-of-life services today that will provide equal access to Deaf Australians. We see this as the first of many museums and galleries that will look to further cultural access for all Australians, by opening their doors wider for the Deaf and hearing impaired communities."

(The term Deaf is used by Australians who use Auslan as their first and preferred language.)

Extending the system to other locations would presumably require little more than creating a new set of videos, captions and QR codes.


Margaret Birtley, general manager of the National Sports Museum: 'This is such an exciting initiative and we are thrilled to be part of the launch of Smart Auslan in Australia. We are sure this new technology will provide our deaf and hearing impaired visitors with a more engaging experience at the National Sports Museum.'

The Smart Auslan app is available from the Android Market.


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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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