Peer Mentor and Young Adult Support Group Leader Emily Truell recently participated in the U.S. trial of a new product, Xrai Glasses, https://xrai.glass/ which provide live captioning.
Below she shares her experience and feedback about this product.
If you would like to contact Emily or other ANA peer mentors, please contact us.
Beta Test and Review of AR Glasses and Xrai App that provide Realtime Captioning
-Emily Truell, Peer Mentor and Young Adult support group leader/Facebook moderator
I recently had the opportunity to Beta Test AR glasses. The glasses connect with subtitle software (Xrai) which allows you to view captions of conversations in real time and they appear in your field of vision. The glasses are now available to the public for purchase. They are a helpful tool in the tool belt but not yet something that could replace a hearing aid or be used all day. It is more of a specific situation assist, such as out to eat with a partner at a restaurant with a lot of background noise or perhaps to help at a work meeting. I wanted to share a few details about the glasses and software, as well as pros and cons based on my experience.
AR glasses were purchased from Amazon - the brand is Nreal Air. They were $379.
Xrai app has 3 tiers: Free basic; $19/month standard; $49/month includes AI assistant
Xrai also has a version for your smartphone that doesn’t connect with the AR glasses and can be used as live captioning on your phone.
Xrai translates 9 languages.
Can you wear glasses with them? Yes, but not super comfortably. Short term is fine, but after several hours would probably be annoying. As an option, you can have prescription lenses put in the AR glasses through your optometrist.
Can you wear hearing aids with them? If you can wear your hearing aid with regular sunglasses, you should be fine. My bone anchored hearing aid was no problem.
How far is the listening range? You can use the mic on the glasses, and it is very narrow - about 4 feet. Phone mic has a much better distance. It does not hook to telecoil. It does fine with speakers/auditorium set ups if there is not reverberation. If the sound is poor, Xrai makes more transcription mistakes.
How accurate is the transcription? In perfect listening conditions it is excellent. Like most hearing, it goes down from there. For example, when there is cross talk with more than one person. If you want to just listen to one person at your table at a restaurant and not the crowd, in that situation it does pretty well. More than 2 conversations, not so well. There is a slight time delay, so I found myself mostly listening and checking the glasses for missed words/details. There were times the captions picked up things that I missed completely.
It does not understand music lyrics at all.
Unfortunately, the glasses have no battery of their own, your phone battery powers them and there is a cord to connect the glasses to your phone. I can use the glasses for about 2 hours before my phone battery is depleted. Currently you cannot turn your phone screen off while the subtitling is active. However, since the transcriptions appear on your phone, they are saved on your phone and you can reference them later.
The glasses are dark like sunglasses so some situations can be challenging. I found I could keep my balance while wearing them and walking but maybe had to think about it a little more.
I found them extremely accurate for television subtitling.
They can recognize different people speaking and label them.
Currently, this is an Android product, but Apple is in development.
There is fatigue because you must focus depending on the situation and the circumstances. I would have to build up my exposure to be able to use for longer time periods.
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