Deaf children face challenges learning to read. As their parents and teachers often don’t know sign language, young ones can’t always make the connection between words on the page and their own life experiences. Huawei aims to fix that with its StorySign app for Android. Point your phone at certain children’s books and the app will use AI to translate individual words on the page to sign language performed by an avatar (created by Wallace and Gromit’s Aardman Animations, no less). This not only helps children read, but can teach parents the sign language they’d need to tell the story later.
The app is free on both Google Play and Huawei’s own AppGallery, and it doesn’t require a Huawei phone. It currently supports ten sign languages (including most European languages). The selection is very thin at the moment, though. Each language currently has just one book — for English audiences, that’s Eric Hill’s Where’s Spot. It could take a long while before you have a collection of stories to read at bedtime. If you don’t mind that, though, this could foster literacy among kids who don’t always have the luxury of someone interpreting words on their behalf.