In March, Digital Journal
reported (in an Op-Ed) about a Hollywood Reporter
poll that suggested that close to half of young people aged 18 to 34 want movie theatres to be more texting-friendly. These individuals argued that connecting via social media would add to their movie experience.
Although a lot of people are bothered by such a practice, the reality is that there will always be people who will use their mobile phone during the two-hour motion picture. But instead of complaining, why not try to solve the problem through technological advancements?
Kyle Goomansingh may have the answer to the bright light that can distract moviegoers. It’s an app called In The Dark
, which was developed to adapt to the room’s light and allow cellphone users, who cannot bare to look away from their device for two hours, to text message or email without causing a disturbance.
The idea for the global app came to fruition last year when Goomansingh missed an important part of a film when a fellow patron was text messaging. The app developer did research later that night and wanted to discover a way to combat this growing issue. He couldn’t find anything online, which then prompted him to become proactive.
“Subsequently, I created the concept. I then entered this idea in an open competition with Communitech. It was evaluated for technical feasibility and commercial viability,” stated Goomansingh in an email to Digital Journal
. “It won the competition. As this build was going, I found out that the software was patentable.”
How does it work? As the establishment you are in becomes dark, you tap the app icon and this immediately places your mobile phone in vibrate mode and changes the device’s settings. Instead of leaving the room to check a text, the incoming messages can be read in a secure and an inconspicuous way.
Goomansingh has experimented with the app at both an IMAX movie theater and a regular picture-house, a power point presentation and at a dark restaurant. During each test, there was some light emitted, but it was very minimal that it would hardly be noticeable to anyone in the vicinity – he noted that if a user revises the settings to a dark gray font and adjusts the screen exposure to 10 then it allows the person to be in a further state of incognito.
At the present time, the only problem that users may experience is if any incoming emails are HTML. He explained that if a device receives these HTML-coded emails then it will load, but it may include additional coding or it won’t display.
“In a future-build, we plan to make HTML emails readable. The reply function to all emails types works,” explained Goomansingh. “There are no issues with sending an email related to this app. Email server issues and internet connectivity issues can affect all communication apps. I do not consider these issues germane to this application.”
It is available in 27 different languages, including Arabic, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Tagalog and Urdu. As of the time of this writing, the app has been downloaded approximately 500 times. Most of its promotion has been through word of mouth and its four-minute YouTube clip
“We hope to build this app on other platforms. We may add some other features and possibly expand the languages,” said Goomansingh. "Initially, this app will have a strong social use. We would like to see this used in a business setting. In power point presentations, the user can easily access their inbox or SMS message and not miss a business-related communication."