For young deaf children, access to language is one of the biggest challenges they face due to not being fully exposed to speech and sound from when they were born.
Reading books is a stressful, complicated experience for deaf children because the word they see don’t correlate with experiences or signs they have seen before. However, story times can be easily relaxing and enjoyable with the right accessibility.
Huawei partnered with two Deaf organizations to help develop the app.
“We (Huawei) consulted with them every step of the way to make sure (we) were really focusing on the right problems and that the solution would make a real difference,” Andrew Garrihy, CMO of Huawei Western Europe says in a promotion video.
StorySign is a free app which takes text from the page of a children’s book and translates the words into sign language through an animated character on the screen, whilst each word is highlighted as it is signed.
“Nothing like StorySign exists, and it’s great to see with the use of AI and innovative technology, we can open the world of books to deaf children,” explains Peter Gauden, Global Senior Product Marketing Manager at Huawei.
Making a star appearance in Huawei’s StorySign advert is The Silent Child Oscar-Winning Actress; Maisie Sly. She is a leading little lady of #DeafTalent!
Featuring Maisie in the advert is a phenomenal way to get the message across to the deaf community and parents of deaf children.
Maise also looks cool and is full of vibrancy, which all adds into the experience. It helps deaf children to look up to her and literally brings the story to life!
The app is a fantastic way of improving the literacy of deaf children. It helps to make reading books less of a chore, and more an exciting activity. Also, it will help deaf children to build their imagination.
“I hope that people understand the positive nature of AI and how together with humanity we can make a truly amazing change that makes a real impact on people,” says Garrihy.
Huawei have also put incredible consideration not only into the concept of the app, but also to the character within the app called ‘Star.’
“They put a lot of work and time into creating ‘Star’ as they used actual interpreters and performers, and you really see her come to life with her signs and facial expressions. I was utterly blown away! I really do hope Huawei continue to grow this app, as the impact this could have is phenomenal,” – says music artist Wayne Barrow.
Since the news spread, Huawei has been greeted with incredible responses from parents of deaf children, celebrities and members of the deaf community.
Phonak hEARo Lucie Houchin also expressed her love for the app.
“This app is so cool and will change the way deaf kids read story books for sure!” She said.
It’s amazing to see a company as big as Huawei going out of their way to make positive changes in relation to deafness. It’s not often we see companies do this! I hope many more follow their positive ethos to show that deafness isn’t an issue if the correct access is provided. How about that for a Christmas present?