Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Huawei launches story time app for deaf children and their parents

Huawei launches story time app for deaf children and their parents

Donations can be made via the StorySign campaign hub on the Huawei website throughout December and all money raised will support deaf child literacy projects across Europe, including more books for StorySign.

Optimised for Huawei AI, features including Image Recognition and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) will create the best possible reading experience. 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. Once that is done, the app can be hovered over a book for the translation process to begin. This would break the language barrier that now exists, as almost 90 percent of the deaf children are born to hearing parents.

When used on a smartphone, the words on the page of a physical book are translated into sign language by animated avatar Star, with popular children's book Spot The Dog supported by the app at launch. While it gives more children the opportunity to enjoy a good bedtime story, it will also address the problems associated with connecting sign language to the written word. As she signs, the corresponding word is highlighted.

There are about 32 million deaf children.

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. This app is free in the Play Store and aims to open the world of books for deaf children.

Currently, there's only one book for each language. Although StorySign works on all phones running Android 6.0 and over, it is optimized for Huawei's AI-enhanced smartphones such as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

"With StorySign, Huawei is using the power of its AI and innovative technology in a meaningful way." comments Mark Wheatley, Executive Director, European Union of the Deaf. The company also hopes that the app will spark a wider conversation about equal opportunities for deaf individuals across Europe.

Huawei's chief marketing officer for western Europe Andrew Garrihy said the company hoped to raise awareness of deaf literacy skills and encourage more support for charities linked to the cause.

Jo Campion at the National Deaf Children's Society welcomed Huawei's launch of the StorySign app as "fantastic news".

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