Huawei launches AI-based story time app for deaf children and parents

Lawrence Kim
December 6, 2018

Huawei today launched StorySign, an app created to help deaf and hard-of-hearing children enjoy bedtime stories, while simultaneously assisting them in learning to read. Huawei worked with the European Union of the Deaf and its local charities across WEU, publishing partner Penguin and animation specialists Aardman to develop the app. This would break the language barrier that now exists, as almost 90 percent of the deaf children are born to hearing parents.

Also, since sign language varies from country-to-country, StorySign will also ask users to choose preferred sign language variant.

In the app, children can hold a smart device over a physical copy of a book available in the program.

To make the storytelling session more immersive, a virtual avatar called Star would translate the words in sign language in real time. As she signs, the corresponding word is highlighted. The word-by-word translation process would greatly enhance the learning experience because as compared to hearing children, deaf kids do not have the advantage of using the sound-based phonics system which supplements the learning process. The Image Recognition allows children to position the phone at an angle from the book and the app will still recognise the words perfectly, whilst the OCR permits the app to function with greater accuracy.

StorySign is available to download from the Google Play Store and Huawei AppGallery in 10 markets across Western Europe. However, Huawei points out that it is optimized for the brand's smartphones. Mark Wheatley, Executive Director of the European Union of the Deaf, even welcomed it: "We are convinced that it will have a significant impact on the deaf by helping more deaf children reach the same level of reading learning as hearing children. We hope that by raising awareness of deaf literacy issues, people will be encouraged to donate to or support one of the fantastic charity partners we are working with across Europe". "We 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, Huawei's chief marketing officer said on the website. Alongside the app, Huawei has also started the StorySign campaign which will collect donations for the BDA projects for deaf children.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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