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New technologies

This page features information about innovative technologies that support people to engage with the arts as artists, audience members, readers and writers, and museum and gallery visitors. Please email Iona if you use or know about new technologies to feature on this page.

New NZSL guide available at Te Papa

Te Papa has launched an NZSL mobile guide, which will allow Deaf people to engage with every aspect of the museum and its exhibits. The web-based guide is free, and can be used on a phone, iPad or tablet. It gives a summary of what’s on each level of the museum, as well as tours of popular exhibitions and objects. QR codes and URLS give access to sign language content about exhibits.

Creativity and digital skills in Otago Corrections Facility

graphic illustrationA trial programme, grounded in kaupapa Māori values and using creativity, storytelling and digital skills, has been described by one Otago Corrections Facility staff member as “a massive opportunity to engage our Māori learners, particularly the young men in our care”. Another staff member said: “The digital literacies that the learners have developed will equip them for the workplace of the future.” The programme, run at Otago Corrections Facility over July and August 2019, was a collaboration between Māui Studios in Christchurch, Methodist Mission Southern in Dunedin, and the Department of Corrections. Working with 11 participants, selected for their creative abilities, the trial programme used interactive learning materials especially designed by Māui Studios to teach graphic design and art. Read more

Bringing orchestral music to sensitive ears

In a possible world-first, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra is exploring ways to help people who find loud, busy spaces overwhelming. A new device will allow people with autism and hearing sensitivity to enjoy live orchestral performance. A feed of the orchestra is sent from the sound engineering board into the devices and a remote control allows the headphone wearer to adjust the volume to suit themselves. The APO worked with Arts Access Aotearoa on the creation of the pilot programme that received funding in early 2019 from a local philanthropist. Phonak Audio provided the system used in the trial. Read and listen to more about this development on RNZ's Upbeat programme

Auckland lab create innovative device for Deaf people

Inspired by Deaf multi-percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, Associate Professor Suranga Nanayakkara and his team at the Augmented Human Lab in the Auckland Bioengineering Institute have created an innovative device. MuSS-Bits (music sensory substitution bits) started out as a technology for Deaf people who want to play music and join in a jamming session with other musicians. It has two parts: a sensor that captures sound from a surface or digital device, and a module that lights up and vibrates with the rhythm so the sound is physically felt in real time.“You can wear it as a smartwatch, put it in your pocket or wear it on your leg,” Suranga Nanayakkara says.

Other assistive-technology projects include the Finger Reader, which allows visually impaired people to read text through a device they wear on their fingers. And Nanayakkara is exploring the scope of artificial intelligence to help with mental-health treatments. Read the Listener article


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