Now, the hearing impaired can see


giphy (1).gif. TINK Africa

A most recent statistics by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that,

About 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability, of whom 2-4% experience significant difficulties in functioning. The global disability prevalence is higher than previous WHO estimates, which date from the 1970s and suggested a figure of around 10%. This global estimate for disability is on the rise due to population ageing and the rapid spread of chronic diseases, as well as improvements in the methodologies used to measure disability.

Streamlining disability to hearing, it has been recorded that vver 5% of the world’s population – 360 million people – has disabling hearing loss (328 million adults and 32 million children). Disabling hearing loss refers to hearing loss greater than 40 decibels (dB) in the better hearing ear in adults and a hearing loss greater than 30 dB in the better hearing ear in children. The majority of people with disabling hearing loss live in low- and middle-income countries.

For decades people with some form of impairment and even special needs lived in an entirely different world because loads of limitations were left on them. They could not do what every other normal person would do. This dichotomy would have lasted the next decade thanks to technology. In this case, thanks to Samsung who in partnership with Leo Burnette Tailor Made birthed an innovative project titled, ‘Theater For All Ears,’ aimed at making it possible for the deaf or hearing impaired to enjoy live theater without the use of a sign language interpreter. 

The project kicked off in Brazil, in a partnership on May 12 at the Frei Caneca Theater. The play, O Pai (The Father), was attended by numerous people with hearing impairments who found their experience transformed by VR goggles.

Through this, Samsung wants to redefine the experience of live theater for those with hearing impairments using virtual reality. Although the hearing impaired have better access to services and products than ever before, live theater poses difficulties. An app for the Samsung Gear VR headset changes that by providing subtitles for the audience in real time.

According to Andrea Mello, Director of Corporate Marketing and Consumer Electronics of Samsung Brazil, “When we unite the theatre with Samsung technology we can change people’s lives. With this 'Theater For All Ears' initiative, we are offering a differentiated and special experience so that the deaf and hearing impaired can experience a show completely—being able to visualise the scenery, the staging, and the subtitles without losing any detail,” 

Beyond Your Eye Sight


At the Imisi 3D VR showcase / Photo via

At the Imisi 3D VR showcase / Photo via

Though Virtual reality maybe in its early stages, the world is excited at the possibility it’s offering. 2016 was named the Year of Virtual reality and we saw new exciting VR options manifesting in Games, Education, Movies/Entertainment, Art, Marketing, Training (Military, Driving etc.) and Sports. Judith Okonkwo is opening up a door for Nigerians to see beyond their eye sight into the world of Virtual Reality.

Judith Okonkwo is a Nigerian Tech evangelist, Business Psychologist and Organisation Development practitioner who has worked in Africa, Asia and Europe took up a new project in championing and advancing Virtual Reality and its possibilities right here in Nigeria, this she did by establishing Imisi 3D.

Imisi 3D is a Virtual Reality (VR) creation lab dedicated to growing a community of VR developers in Nigeria through creating relevant solutions using VR, and providing educational and engagement experiences with VR. Optimistic about their goal, Judith sees VR as a tool for creating everyday solutions, in this view she sees VR disrupting the technology narrative in the future.

At the Imisi 3D VR showcase / Photo via

At the Imisi 3D VR showcase / Photo via

Imisi 3D held a Virtual reality workshop on the future of Lagos and a hackathon last October focus on Virtual reality in line with the global VR fever. Currently her goal with Imisi 3D is to put Nigeria and Africa in the fore front of this journey as VR shapes up by raising early Nigerian creators and not just consumers.

This technology has uses that cut across several industry sectors, and the impact on things as critical as learning is profound. With 2016 being described as the year of Virtual Reality, Nigeria must not get left behind.
— Judith Okonkwo

On their website, they state “We are future thinking and committed to being responsible ancestors, creating a better world for today and tomorrow”

Judith Okonkwo / Photo via

Judith Okonkwo / Photo via

Virtual Reality? Game On


For the future of gaming, we have our eyes out on VR, VIRTUAL REALITY, and mobile gaming, especially with the high level of expectations built around virtual reality we can only hope mobile, technology and telecom companies live up to it or lose their potential consumers forever.

Virtual reality gaming is where a person can experience being in a three-dimensional environment and interact with that environment (virtual world) during a game.

Virtual worlds are three-dimensional environments in which you can interact with others and create objects as part of that interaction. How do you do that? You appear as an avatar in the virtual world: an avatar is a virtual representation of you (a ‘virtual ego’) which can take on any shape or form as you so wish.

There are ranges of virtual worlds to choose from which include fantasy, sport, historical and science fiction. Some are loosely based on the real world but others such as fantasy worlds are as the name says: they are completely disconnected from the real world which is also part of their attraction.

With virtual worlds, men appear as women and vice versa. Some people choose an animal as their alter ego. Whatever you choose the aim is to socially interact with other people in new and exciting ways. This all adds to the experience.

In 1935, American science fiction writer Stanley G Weinbaum described something like virtual reality in a short story called Pygmalion’s Spectacles.

“But listen – a movie that gives one sight and sound. Suppose now I add taste, smell, even touch; is your interest is taken by the story? Suppose I make it so that you are in the story, you speak to the shadows, and the shadows reply, and instead of being on a screen, the story is all about you, and you are in it. Would that be to make real a dream?”



Virtual reality returned in 2010, when American teenager Palmer Luckey created the first prototype of a VR headset that would evolve into the Oculus Rift. Two years later, he launched a $250,000 Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to commercialise it – and $2.4m of pledges later, the tech industry’s interest in VR was reborn. Two years after that, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, liked the Rift so much he bought the company for $2bn. Stiff competition has emerged since then, from the

HTC Vive – Thedevice is a partnership between Taiwanese tech firm HTC and the games company Valve. Valve added a dedicated VR category to its existing Steam digital games store, while HTC has just launched its Viveport site for non-gaming apps.

Price: N 243,679/ $799 /£759; It includes the headset, two wireless hand-controllers, two base stations and a link box to connect it to your computer.

Some games to try:

 Job Simulator: a big word-of-mouth hit; its 2050 setting simulates jobs taken over by robots

The Brookhaven Experiment: survival-based horror game with plenty of monsters – and scares

Fantastic Contraption: originally a 2D machine-building puzzler, this works beautifully in 3D and VR

Jaunt VR: a great range of made-for-VR videos, from documentaries to music

Apollo 11 VR: clever historical app that puts you in the moon landing mission

and Sony’s PlayStation VR

VR race is Sony’s PlayStation VR headset, which launched in October 2016 as an accessory for the PlayStation 4 games console. Both the PlayStation 4 and new PlayStation 4 Pro are compatible with the headsets, but the pro will run VR games at higher screen resolutions and frame rates. PlayStation VR will use the PS4’s standard console controller, the DualShock 4, but you’ll need the N18,298 / $60 PlayStation Camera accessory too.

Price: N121,687/ $399 /£350 for the headset, processor unit, earphones and cables.

 to smartphone-powered headsets such as Samsung’s Gear VR and Google Cardboard.

Some games to try:

Rez Infinite: brilliant reboot of classic rhythm game Rez

Batman: Arkham VR: crime-solving strategy with the Dark Knight

Superhypercube: “first-person puzzler” with trippy graphics

Job Simulator: a big word-of-mouth hit; its 2050 setting simulates jobs taken over by robots

We cannot for certain place our hands on where virtual reality is headed even in terms of gaming and outside it. As technology companies and its affiliates are fast paced in the direction of development riding on virtual realities train.

“This is just the start. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face to face – just by putting on goggles in your home,” wrote Mark Zuckerberg.(Co-founder of Facebook)

Some virtual reality terms:

VRML (Virtual Reality Modelling Language): this is the earliest VR language for the internet.

X3D: this has since replaced VRML

3DML: this enables someone to visit a website via a plug in

COLLADA (Collaborative Design Activity): this allows file exchanges within 3D programmes.