Sydney app informs hearing impaired visitors

By Paul Hemsley

City of Sydney Mayor Clover Moore has launched a smartphone app that will allow the hearing impaired to experience interactive guided tours of Sydney Town Hall.

Australian Communication Exchange (ACE) developed the OpenMi Tours app, which changes audio content into videos communicating with sign language or Auslan with text options.

Auslan is the sign language used by Australian deaf community.

The OpenMi Tour app will need to be downloaded onto a smartphone or one of the phones on free loan from the council, in which users can point to a Quick Response (QR) code located on the tour, which will result in Auslan sign language displayed.

The same app from ACE has also been implemented at the National Sports Museum, the National Gallery of Victoria and Historic Houses Trust.

Ms Moore said the City of Sydney received “lots of positive feedback” while testing the app.

"I look forward to more people taking part in the tours and learning about the history of this iconic building,” Ms Moore said.

Australian Communication Exchange Director of Strategy and Planning, Zoe Boyd said the app was developed as a functional equivalent solution to the audio tour that “hearing people enjoy”.

"This technology allows the deaf community to experience cultural experiences in their native language, which is especially important for them to follow the context and background of an exhibit,” Ms Boyd said.

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