While specialist education for deaf children exists, it is not accessible by all deaf children. In the UK, for example, there are only 20 specialist school to cater to 45,000 deaf children, which means that around 78% of deaf children attend mainstream schools with little or no special provision. Because of government cuts there are 14% fewer teachers of the deaf in the last seven years, while there has been a 31% increase in demand for their services.
90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents. Meaning their parents may well not be fluent in sign and cannot support them through school.
This situation is similar the world over. All of this means that literacy is a really big issue within the deaf community.
To change the story of deaf illiteracy and show the power of Huawei’s smartphone technology, we needed an idea that offered real change to a generation of deaf children.
Working closely with the creative agency, we created the first global literacy platform for the deaf – StorySign. A ground-breaking free app, StorySign scans the words in selected children’s books and instantly translates them into sign language, using the most advanced signing avatar ever. For the first time, deaf children and their parents can learn to read and sign, together. StorySign uses the power of Huawei’s Kirin AI chip to boost existing OCR technology. AI means the app is more accurate, reads text at 45 degrees with seamless image recognition, and even works in low light conditions for bedtime stories. Available in 11 countries so far, supported by 11 international deaf charities, StorySign truly delivers on Huawei’s promise to ‘push the limits of what is humanly possible’.
Executing StorySign took an alliance of world-class partners over a year.
Working with 11 international charities ensured StorySign had the needs of deaf children at its heart.
Penguin Random House, the world’s leading publisher, are adding their library of books.
Huawei’s Kirin AI chip means StorySign is more accurate, can read text at up to 45°, and works in low light for bedtime stories.
Oscar-winning Aardman Animations created ‘Star’, the most advanced signing avatar ever. Every detail appeals to deaf children, from her age (because children learn better from siblings), to her hearing aid (to destigmatise deafness).
Testing with families and schools resulted in an effortless user experience. Select the children’s book, hold your smartphone over the words in the physical edition, and StorySign instantly translates them into sign language. Words are highlighted in sign language order to make that crucial link between words and signs.