Lizzie Hunter

StorySign app launched in Australia

Child entertainer Emma ‘Yellow Wiggle’ Watkins has partnered as an ambassador for Huawei’s StorySign to mark the app’s launch into the Australian market.

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Officially announced last year and now available in Auslan, the sign language of Australia’s deaf community, Huawei’s StorySign app harnesses the power of AI to open the world of books to deaf children and their families. Featuring popular children’s book ‘Where’s Spot?’ and using the help of StorySign’s friendly avatar Star, the app uses AI to translate popular children’s books into perfect sign language page by page, delivering a seamless user experience.

As a passionate advocate for sign language, Emma ‘Yellow Wiggle’ Watkins is committed to supporting young children in the deaf community.

“Empowering deaf children is a cause close to my heart and it’s wonderful to see the power of technology used to make such a positive impact,” she said. “I have found signing is a compelling way to connect with our young audience, so I’m delighted to take this connection further and be an ambassador of Huawei’s app; helping young deaf children participate in story-time.”

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In Australia, around 400 children are born deaf each year*. With no written form for sign, children that are hard of hearing often struggle to connect sign language with the written word; posing reading challenges and ultimately impacting their literacy levels. The StorySign app, in conjunction with a smartphone and a physical book, delivers the best story time experience for both parent and child.

“With StorySign, Huawei is using the power of its AI and innovative technology in a meaningful way,” said Lisa Connors, Huawei Australia corporate responsibility manager. “We’re delighted to make this incredible StorySign app accessible to our local deaf community in Australia.”

Optimised for Huawei AI, features including image recognition and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) will create the best possible reading experience. The image recognition allows children to position the phone at an angle from the book and the app will still recognise the words, whilst the OCR permits the app to function with greater accuracy. The AI performance will also power the speed at which pages from the book can load in the app, meaning that children won’t be left waiting too long to find out what happens next in the story.

To raise awareness of deaf literacy, Huawei Australia continues its partnership with national charity organisation, Deaf Australia, to encourage support and donation for those affected with hard of hearing.

“The deaf community often struggles with content to address children’s literacy development needs. With the StorySign app now compatible with Auslan, Huawei is making digital tools accessible to Australian children. We are proud to continue our work with Huawei on the StorySign project as it unfolds in Australia.” said Kyle Miers, CEO of Deaf Australia.

As a sign of ongoing commitment to the StorySign initiative, Huawei is investing in local research to support a wider conversation about ensuring equality in every aspect of their lives for people in the deaf community.

StorySign is available on Android smartphones can be downloaded for free from Google Play Store. To watch the film and learn how you can help, visit www.storysign.com.

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If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch with Freedom2live’s managing online editor Kymberly Martin at kymberly@intermedia.com.au.

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