non-government organization

Movie Guide Dog

It’s like a guide dog but instead of guiding blind people through the streets it guides them through the movies.

Find out more about this project

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The client

Web development

Mobile development

Product design


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DDB is highly ranked, worldwide advertising agency. They believe that great work, works. And that great work comes from genuinely connecting with people, in ways that are unexpected. It’s an agency full of diverse thinkers with areas of deep expertise. They work collaboratively with each other and with clients to bring the right experts together to deliver outstanding results. This time they decided to collaborate with NGO organization in order to shape the future through the use of cutting edge technology. And we were honored to be a part of this story, technology part to be more precisely.

Watch the YouTube video to learn about the campaign

Using 9 different technologies, machine learning and custom hardware device we delivered a MVP of the app within 30 days. In less than 60 the prototype was ready to use. This meant a start of the marketing and crowdfunding campaigns, since additional funding is necessary to improve the app further. We look forward to launching the app to market soon.

26 000 000 visually impaired and partially sighted people in Europe

Visually impaired and partially sighted people can watch movies thanks to audio descriptions. Audio description translates pictures into words. Maybe it doesn’t make the blind see the movie, but it makes them feel the movie. And if something feels the same, it is the same.

Most cinema theaters are not ready to screen audio described movies. What is worse, cinemas have different equipment, different projectors, different soundtrack formats, different everything. Maybe we could set some standards, but it would take ages to implement them.

9 technologies to deliver a product in less than 30 days?

The project required us to devote large amounts to research and development works: We had to teach Movie Guide Dog how to listen to and learn movies, how to identify individual fragments, as well as how to synchronize a soundtrack to what is happening on the screen.

We used fast Fourier transform (FFT) and GPU distributed processing. A separate challenge was to develop dedicated hardware that allowed the audio description to work without the Internet or even a phone. To do this we used our own dedicated Linux version and Embedded Python.

Among many challenges in the project, one kept on bothering us: How to design an interface that will be beautiful, usable and invisible at the same time? In the application, every screen is a single button and there are no other elements on it. We also used large icons, voice reading of messages and high color contrast.

We will run and train the dog

Movie Guide Dog helps visually impaired and partially sighted people to watch movies. It’s a smartphone app, so it outsmarts the formats, projectors, and stuff. It works regardless of the equipment in theaters. It lists movies that have audio descriptions available.

Then you tap to download the description and go to the movies. When you are there, trust the dog. It has very good ears and is able to synchronize the audio description with the movie soundtrack. And ta-dam! You watch a movie.

We delivered an app MVP of the product, allowing our clients to start marketing and crowdfunding campaigns. The critical development phase is complete, but additional funding will help us improve the app further.



Team members




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What’s next

Movie Guide Dog is cheaper than any cinema equipment, but it requires some training. The app must be blind-friendly and to synchronize audio descriptions with movie soundtracks will take some technology. We will run and train the dog in Poland because we live here, as do 145 000 visually impaired and 700 000 partially sighted people. But when it’s ready, it’ll be a platform available to anyone, anywhere. For free. We look forward to launching the app to market soon.

“The team dedicated themselves to producing the best possible app despite tight deadlines and tremendous pressure. At every stage of the project, they provided fact-based and structured updates written in layperson terms that I could understand. United Ideas also did an excellent job delivering on large-scale R&D requirements.”

Magdalena Drozdowska DDB Director Picture
Magda Drozdowska
Creative Director at DDB

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