Built for Good

AR smart glasses making cinema accessible to all

  • Entertainment
Services we provided
  • App development
  • Research & Discovery
  • Usability Testing
  • UX/UI design
Award Winning

The project

Built For Good envisioned a world where those with hearing loss could enjoy the magic of cinema alongside 
their friends and family, without limitation. Their goal was to break down barriers and make any film screening accessible to deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing audiences.  Driven by a passion for inclusion and decades of shared experience delivering caption services at the National Theatre, the Built For Good team set out to improve accessibility and bring entertainment equality to the deaf community.

The challenge

The UK has up to 12 million residents with hearing loss who miss out on cinema because accessible screenings are limited; with fewer than 2% of showings providing captioning. Built For Good set out to create a solution 
that removed these restrictions and offered the deaf community the same choices as mainstream audiences, 
so everyone can enjoy the cinema together. To make this a reality, Built For Good needed a software development partner who could help bring their vision to life. That's where Atomic came in.

The solution

Together, we have created WatchWord - an innovative solution that utilises wearable AR glasses, and a native mobile application, to give freedom of choice to millions of underserved cinemagoers. The glasses connect to a handheld control unit, complete with a bespoke application, that allows users to personalise captions according to their preferences - from adjusting text size and position to choosing colours and more. The glasses sync wirelessly to broadcasts of pre-prepared captions that follow the on-screen action in real-time.  Working collaboratively with our client throughout the discovery, design and development process, 
Atomic were able to create an innovative, empowering solution that defies the limits of existing assistive systems. WatchWord allows people to attend any screening, no longer limited to subtitle-only showings.

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Bridging the accessibility gap and bringing freedom of choice
to all movie-goers.

The UK has up to 12 million residents with hearing loss who miss out on cinema because accessible screenings are limited; with fewer than 2% of showings providing captioning. WatchWord allows people with hearing loss to attend any mainstream cinema showing, at no extra cost.

"The glasses were brilliant! The fact that we could just go to any film, or any showing at any time, is just fantastic. It might be a little thing for hearing people, but to us…it’s everything!"

Comfort meets accessibility.
Glasses built for everyone.

Atomic are passionate about accessibility. Where possible, we follow best practice in all our development projects so our digital products can provide an enjoyable and accessible experience. We are especially proud to have been part of this initiative, which is a fantastic example of how technology can be used to positively impact people’s lives and promote equality.  The lightweight, ergonomic glasses are designed for comfort, easily fitting over most prescription eyeglasses. They are also compatible with common hearing assistive devices like hearing aids and cochlear implants.

A truly immersive and seamless user experience.

When wearing the AR glasses, subtitles appear seamlessly integrated into the user’s field of vision, and can be adjusted to suit their personal preference - changing the size, colour and positioning of the captions.

The Outcome

"It’s a game-changer! It’s really good. I felt quite emotional watching the film, because it was so good, clear and I could understand everything."

Deaf community's response to the innovation is incredibly positive. Test screenings with AR glasses left participants overwhelmed. WatchWord's AR glasses and customisable app offer a personalised approach, granting deaf viewers independence like mainstream audiences. This innovation transforms cinema into an inclusive experience. WatchWord showcases how creative software engineering and equity-focused missions break barriers.

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What our clients say

I was looking for a company who would bring ideas as well as technical ability, and work closely with us to create the best solution; and that’s exactly what I found in Atomic.

Tim Middleton CTO - Built for Good


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