The full week ending on the last Sunday of September is observed as the International week of Deaf. Also, the last Sunday of September is celebrated as the World Day of Deaf or International Day of Deaf. To honor the Weak of Deaf, Snapchat rolled out new Augmented Reality (AR) lenses and stickers that can give a cursory knowledge of sign languages used by differently-abled people. The new AR lenses use AI and computer vision technology by SignAll, which can recognize and translate American Sign Language.
The application has launched two lenses whereas one can teach you to fingerspell each letter to form a word, and the other lens teaches you to fingerspell your username and other common words like love, peace, hug, and smile. These lenses are developed with the help of Snap’s hearing-impaired employees. Jennica Pounds, a deaf software engineer at Snap who was a vital part of this project said:
“A big motivation for me is my own oldest son, who absolutely loves to talk, but has had a hard time learning ASL. I’m passionate about this technology because I truly believe it’s going to break so many applications wide open. It’s tech like this that will help families like mine communicate and grow together”.
Snap aims to elevate awareness of sign language and provide a more inclusive environment for deaf and dumb people. This new update is also aimed to motivate creators to consider hearing-impaired people while creating content.
In addition to the new lenses, Snap has also launched Bitmojis and Cameo’s selfie stickers with common signs. Users can record their learning experiences and share them with their friends via chat and boost awareness using Bitmoji stickers.
It is a good initiative from Snap enabling the users to learn with fun and providing an inclusive environment for all differently-abled people. Content creation and consumption are not meant only for certain people. It should be made available to all and this update can be seen as a stepping stone to achieve equality.