Alexa, Google, Cortana: we live in a world full of voices. Voice assistants are changing the way we shop, search, communicate or even live. But what about those without a voice or those who cannot hear? SIGNS is the first smart tool that allows people with hearing loss to speak to voice assistants by using their hands. The innovative smart tool recognizes and translates sign language in real-time. It is trained to identify gestures with the help of an integrated camera. These gestures are converted into a data format that voice assistants understand. International brands are now promoting digital accessibility by integrating SIGNS into their products and services, e.g. at Etihad at the Abu Dhabi Airport. SIGNS has been running since April 2019 as a long-term experience testing with the German Youth Association of People with Hearing Loss. A second experience testing started in October 2019 in Abu Dhabi with 20 participants.
The response of the deaf community has been overwhelming. Using their hands is their intuitive way of communicating and so far new technologies have been excluding them in this aspect. Never before has there been a sign language assistant in that quality and with the prospect of becoming a worldwide platform, that can easily be accessible from all over the world, learning new signs and sign languages every day. This open platform is planned to launch in July.
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