We challenged Huawei to transform the way deaf children learn to read.
There are 32 million deaf children in the world, many of whom struggle to learn to read. Literacy is a big issue in the deaf community, as deaf children can’t be taught using traditional methods – they can’t learn letters phonetically and can struggle to match words with sounds. This causes problems at school which persist in later life.
Our challenge was to find a way to help, while supporting Huawei on its mission to make the world a better place through the power of technology.
What if a phone could translate words into sign language? Huawei believes that technology should enrich people’s lives and that AI can extend the boundaries of what is humanly possible. As one of the world’s leading tech and telecoms brands, they were in the perfect position to find a solution to this problem.
Partnering with the European Union of the Deaf, the British Deaf Association, Penguin Books and Aardman Animations, the team developed an app to bring some of the world’s best loved children’s books to life, and make learning to read a fun and rewarding experience.
We launched StorySign – a free app built with Huawei AI that takes words from children’s books and interprets them into sign language via a state-of-the-art, motion-capture avatar, Star. StorySign can translate books into 12 different sign languages, allowing deaf children and their parents to read and sign together.
We developed a social and video campaign targeted at deaf children’s parents to raise awareness of the app, with worldwide coverage across major news publications and support from 11 international deaf charities.
The StorySign app made a huge impact, with a reach of 1.5 billion. Over 50,000 books have been opened in-app and more books in more languages are being added regularly.
Beyond the statistics, Huawei and Wavemaker gave deaf children and their parents the power and technology to enjoy story time, as every child should.
It’s a really natural reading experience and gives both child and parent the ability to read and sign together. It’s a way to open the world of books to deaf children.
Peter Gauden, product manager, huawei
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