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Snapchat gets new ASL fingerspelling feature

fingerspelling feature
The Deafengers have done it again! The Deafengers, a team of deaf and hard of hearing engineers at Snapchat, have spearheaded a fingerspelling feature on the social media platform that will help bring deaf and hearing people together.

ASL Fingerspelling With Snap

Snapchat has created a new feature that allows its users to learn and practice fingerspelling using the American Sign Language alphabet, according to statement from the company. This new lens is called Sign With Snap.

“Snapchat has created a new feature that allows its users to learn and practice fingerspelling using the American Sign Language alphabet.”

Last year Snapchat released three augmented reality lenses in partnership with SignAll. SignAll‘s vision is to “offer solutions that allow Deaf and Hard of Hearing to communicate with other people spontaneously and effectively – anytime and anywhere.” Snapchat introduced ASL stickers and tools to learn simple words along with fingerspelling. Check out all of the lenses and more here.

Read more: Clubhouse app introduces long overdue live captioning

Learning Through Games

Snapchat uses game-based learning to drive its fingerspelling lens. When you add the Fingerspelling Randomizer, you are given a word to fingerspell. There is a hand shown just above the words that gives direction on how to shape your hand. Upon completing the word, the background changes and there is an animation of the word. My favorite is the dragon!

Other lenses include having your Snapchat username fingerspelled, and even learning how to fingerspell other words on a timer. The letters fall from the top of the screen and you have to show the letter in order to catch the letter before it falls. Not only are these games fun, but they also improve your receptive skills. The more you practice, the faster you become.

With Snapchat being used all over the world, it would be awesome to see the alphabets of other signed languages, such as British Sign Language. This could also bridge the gap for cross cultural sharing within the deaf and hard of hearing community. 

Author Details
Hello, my name is Catalleya Storm (they/them). I work to bring awareness to issues impacting the Black, Deaf, disabled and LGBTQ communities. I was born hearing but started losing my hearing in my late teens. I identify as Deaf/HOH, with the understanding that I am apart of both the hearing world and the Deaf world. I believe that we all can bring about positive change in the world, and that’s what I hope to do with the time I have here.