Huawei has had a pretty impressive year with not one, but two amazing handset launches. Today, they launched StorySign, an app aimed at making story time more enjoyable and accessible for deaf children.
Appreciating the Challenge Children Face
Just a few days ago on the Late Late Toy Show, Michael stole the hearts of a nation. First and foremost, he was a straight-talking GAA fan with impeccable style and confidence. He is also blind.
— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) November 30, 2018
Michael’s disability played second fiddle to just how cool a kid he was. He enjoys reading books in braille and, to be honest, he made me think about all the things I took for granted as a kid. I was never massively into reading, but still here’s a kid who loves it even though it presents a unique content challenge for him.
On the Late Late Toy Show, we learned that despite children’s different abilities, reading is extremely important. That and getting as many autographs as possible, but that’s another story.
Using AI to Help Deaf Children Enjoy Storytime
I learned a few things today and one of those is that Ireland has a specific dialect of sign language. I also learned that storytime, a time most children get to enjoy without even thinking about it, can be frustrating for deaf children. That’s all year round, but Huawei’s latest campaign shows just how much a child can feel they are missing out on from the buzz of Christmas.
I also learned that deaf and hard of hearing children can experience particular difficulties when learning how to read. Due warning, this ad, staring deaf actress Maisie Sly from The Silent Child, is John Lewis levels of heartwarming:
That’s why Huawei’s announcement today is really exciting.
Huawei announced StorySign, an app which uses artificial intelligence to translate regular books into sign language. This makes digesting literature much easier for deaf and hard of hearing children. At launch, StorySign will support the well-known children’s book, Where’s Spot by Eric Hill.
Unfortunately, I don’t have it lying around but I did get a page of it on Amazon.co.uk to test out. Here, you get to meet Star, the avatar who signs the story to the reader:
With over 32 million children globally either deaf or hard of hearing, Huawei’s AI-powered reading assistant will be a welcome bit of tech for families around the world. The most important thing now is that the app grows and adds more books, making this a must-have platform for deaf children to dive into literature with.
StorySign is available to download now from the Google Play Store.