Huawei's StorySign app enhances story time for deaf children

The Huawei Story Sign app

Alongside lack of resources, many children do not get access to sign language at the crucial early learning stages; 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents and 43% of those parents in the United Kingdom admitted they only know some sign language or don't know how to sign.

And Jo Campion at the National Deaf Children's Society also welcomed the launch of the app. Huawei announced that a popular children's book called "Where's Spot?" will be included in the app from the get-go, and it is, and the app features a "friendly avatar", as the company calls it, an avatar that is named "Star", who is supposed to help entertain kids along the way.

While the app does use OCR (optical character recognition) and image recognition, that's mostly so it can still "read" the page with the phone held at an angle.

"At Huawei, we believe in the power of AI and that technology can make a positive difference in the world", said Huawei's Western Europe CMO, Andrew Garrihy. "Too many deaf children face needless barriers in life - and this is such a simple step to make sure every deaf child who uses sign language can enjoy the magic of a good bedtime story".

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"We created StorySign to help make it possible for families with deaf children to enjoy an enriched story time". StorySign uses AR and AI to display sign language next to the text as the child reads along. The StorySign app, in conjunction with a smartphone and a physical book, delivers the best story time experience for both parent and child.

The app, which the company released on Monday in 10 countries across Europe, is compatible with just a single book (Where's Spot?) at launch in the United Kingdom and works only on Android phones. The AI engine also controls the speed of which pages load in the app, which, according to Huawei, means that the user doesn't have to wait for the app to catch up.

The new app is free to download via the Google Play Store and the Huawei AppGallery and is offered in 10 sign languages including English, French, German and Italian. The app was developed in partnership with local charities affiliated with the European Union of the Deaf, including the British Deaf Association, publishing partner Penguin and animation specialists Aardman. If you would like to check out the look of this app before you download it and try it out, visit the gallery down below.

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