Huawei's new StorySign app leverages AI tech to help deaf children enjoy reading more
Huawei has launched an app that aims to improve story time for deaf children and their parents.
StorySign, which features an avatar called Star, who helps translate the story into sign language in real time.
Users can hold their phone up to the words on the page and Star signs the story as the printed words are highlighted. This allows parents and children to learn to read together, at their own pace.
Recent research carried out by Huawei showed that parents of deaf children in Ireland spend more time reading to their children each day than parents of hearing children.
But, as sign has no written form as there is no direct English word-for-word translation, this can pose a huge challenge to deaf children learning to read.
Available for free in Ireland now, and featuring the ‘Where’s Spot’ by Eric Hill, StorySign has been launched in partnership with the Irish Deaf Society.
Huawei worked with local charities under the European Union of the Deaf, publishing partner Penguin and animation specialists Aardman to develop the app.
Andrew Garrihy, CMO at Huawei Western Europe, said that the tech company believes that the power of AI can make a positive difference in the world.
"We created StorySign to help make it possible for families with deaf children to enjoy an enriched story time," he said.
"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."
Mark Wheatley, Executive Director, European Union of the Deaf said that it is hoped that the app will help more deaf children learn how to read at the same level as hearing children.
"We also hope the launch of StorySign will support a wider conversation about ensuring equality in every aspect of their lives for deaf people across Europe," he said.
StorySign can be downloaded for free from Google Play Store and the Huawei AppGallery in ten markets across Western Europe.
Jo Campion at the National Deaf Children’s Society welcomed Huawei’s launch of the StorySign app as "fantastic news".
"It shows the incredible potential technology companies have to transform the lives of deaf children. 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."