Tennis Australia

Action Audio

A new way for audiences with visual impairments to follow sport in real-time.

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Insight

Almost 285 million people worldwide are restricted from enjoying live sport.

For people living with blindness or low vision, the experience of broadcast sport is severely compromised. On television, sports coverage relies heavily on visuals, while radio commentary is often too slow to give fans a true sense of the live action.

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Idea

Turn what needs to be seen into sound.

Action Audio is a world-first system for augmenting live sports with sound, designed to give people who are visually impaired the ability to follow games in real-time.

Developed in partnership with Tennis Australia and Monash University, Action Audio uses data from a ball monitoring computer vision system to emphasise key moments of play with a 3D sound design system that has been developed with the blind and low vision community.

For many visually impaired sports fans, Action Audio will provide the first opportunity to follow the speed and actions of a live game.

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Everyone has the right to have as much access as possible. I love tennis, but being blind, all I can hear is the ball going up and down and then I have to wait for the results. I’m really looking forward to this next step forward in accessibility.

Maurice Gleeson, CEO at Blind Sports Victoria

Impact

Making the Tennis accessible to a new audience of millions.

Action Audio launched during the finals of the 2021 Australian Open tennis tournament to a global audience of billions. The launch coincides with the Australian Open’s Tennis For All initiative, a program of events to celebrate ongoing efforts to make the sport accessible to the whole community.

The ubiquity of the ball monitoring computer vision systems at over 80 tennis tournaments worldwide, and other codes such as cricket and football, creates a huge opportunity to open access for millions of visually impaired sports fans.