Snapchat is rolling out new augmented reality lenses and stickers that can give you cursory lessons on sign language. The company has developed the new features as part of its efforts for the Weak of the Deaf with guidance from its Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing team members. Its new AR Lenses use AI and computer vision technology by SignAll, which can recognize and translate American Sign Language.
One of the lenses will teach you how to fingerspell, in which you form individual letters with your fingers to spell a word. The other new lenses will teach you how to fingerspell your username, as well as some common words like “love” and “smile.” You can scan the Snapcodes below to access them and then share a clip of you signing on the app.
In addition to the new lenses, Snap has also launched new general, Bitmoji and Cameos selfie stickers with common signs. The hope is that these new elements can boost awareness and help more people learn a new way to communicate. Jennica Pounds, a deaf software engineer at Snap who was a key figure in the 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.”
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