SYDNEY, Feb. 12, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Digital accessible wayfinding startup BindiMaps has been selected to help make this year’s Westpac OpenAir Cinema season “more accessible than ever” by making available its navigation app and recently-launched platform for attendees.
They will be offered by Westpac alongside other tailored amenities, such as more accessible seating, tactile and braille signage, companion cards for those with assistance and guide dogs, and an increased availability of movies with subtitles.
They will also be featured prominently during the premiere of Australia’s first feature-length film created by and for people with low vision and those who are blind, “TOUCH”.
The “BindiWeb” platform is an interactive online map that allows moviegoers to toggle wheelchair accessible routes and get directions within the cinema, from the comfort of their home or on their way, helping them choose the best drop off point or transport stop.
Preemptively planning these aspects of an excursion to unfamiliar terrain can be critical for reducing anxiety and stress for moviegoers with a disability.
The BindiMaps app then offers turn-by-turn directions via audio, text and map options once they’ve arrived, with optimised audio and wheelchair directions. These directions guide users from their chosen drop off point in the Royal Botanic Gardens to the cinema entrance, and then to their actual seating section.
TOUCH tells the story of a young man and his friends who must navigate through his father’s memories to escape an experiment gone wrong, and uses the immersive power of sound to create an inclusive cinematic experience.
Its creation was driven by strong demand for more inclusive theatre experiences from Australians with a vision impairment: almost half feel most films are not inclusive for them, and over three-quarters believe adaptable technology such as audio descriptions should be more widely used, according to Mastercard research.
The praiseworthy move towards greater inclusivity by Westpac sets an important precedent for other event organisers and cinemas, according to BindiMaps.
Anna Wright, Founder and CEO at BindiMaps said: “We are excited to partner with Westpac to make their famous and much-attended OpenAir Cinema accessible to everyone. Our BindiMaps navigation app and BindiWeb platform empower individuals with disabilities to navigate the sometimes challenging cinema environment with confidence and ease, ensuring they can enjoy the magic of the movies just like everyone else. We implore other event organisers and venues to follow suit, opening up Australia’s vibrant arts and cultural scene to all Australians.”
Majella Knobel, Westpac’s Head of Access and Inclusion said: “We wanted to make sure that the needs of as many individuals as possible were considered as part of the end-to-end cinema experience. The OpenAir Cinema is in such an iconic location on the Sydney Harbour; we want everyone to have the opportunity to experience the special atmosphere. We hope that this year’s OpenAir cinema sets a new standard for accessibility and inclusion that others in the industry will strive to follow.”
TOUCH will screen at the Westpac OpenAir Cinema in the Royal Botanic Garden on Tuesday 13 February 2024, with all proceeds going to Blind Citizens Australia.
BindiMaps and Westpac are urging all Australians with disabilities and their families, as well as tech enthusiasts and everyday moviegoers, to attend the OpenAir Cinema and experience the enhanced accessibility firsthand.
Tickets can be purchased through Humanitix here.
BindiMaps (www.bindimaps.com) is a mobile navigation app that uses sophisticated navigation algorithms and a network of Bluetooth beacons and smartphone sensors to help users precisely navigate to any destination within any type of complex indoor space. It was developed by people with a vision impairment, for people with a vision impairment, to create the highest possible level of inclusivity and offers 10-20 times higher accuracy than Google’s GPS can provide for indoor locations. Its application ranges from university campuses, airports, shopping malls, hospitals, office buildings, and more.
Anna developed the idea for BindiMaps after undergoing years of major surgery to save her own eyesight, which inspired her to create a more accessible world for people with vision impairment. She is a recognised leader in the startup ecosystem, lighting a path for non-technical founders to start and build tech companies that can change the world. It is her passion for impact that saw Anna nominated for 2019 Australian of the Year.
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