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HUAWEI LAUNCHES STORYSIGN APP IN AUSTRALIA WITH EMMA ‘YELLOW WIGGLE’ WATKINS AS AMBASSADOR

Huawei’s AI-powered app is now Auslan compatible, helping deaf and hard of hearing children
and their parents to enjoy story time together.

SYDNEY, Australia — March 7, 2019

Huawei, a leader in global technology, has today announced the launch of StorySign app in Australia, which uses the power of AI to enrich story time for deaf and hard of hearing children and their parents by creating an authentic reading experience. 

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.  

To mark the Australian launch of Huawei’s StorySign app, Emma ‘Yellow Wiggle’ Watkins has partnered as an ambassador. As a passionate advocate for sign language and well recognised child entertainer, Emma 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. 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.”  

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,” comments 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 perfectly, 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. Donations can be made via the StorySign campaign hub on the Huawei website, as well as through the ‘about’ section on the StorySign app. All money raised will support deaf child literacy projects in Australia, including more books for StorySign.

*https://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/childhood/parents/needs/hearinglossfacts.pdf

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FOR MORE INFORMATION

In addition to the above spokespeople, select case studies are available for interview. For more information, please contact:

Francesca Di Stefano

BCW Global

E: francesca.distefano@bcw-global.com

ABOUT HUAWEI CONSUMER BUSINESS GROUP

Huawei’s products and services are available in more than 170 countries and are used by a third of the world’s population. Fifteen R&D centers have been set up in the United States, Germany, Sweden, Russia, India and China. Huawei Consumer BG is one of Huawei’s three business units and covers smartphones, PC and tablets, wearables and cloud services, etc. Huawei’s global network is built on almost 30 years of expertise in the telecom industry and is dedicated to delivering the latest technological advances to consumers around the world.

ABOUT DEAF AUSTRALIA

Deaf Australia is the deaf-led peak organisation representing deaf people in Australia. We promote the advancement of human rights and equality for deaf people by collaborating with our members and stakeholders in implementing the United Nations Conventions and the National Disability Strategy. Deaf Australia is for all deaf, hard of hearing and non-deaf people and organisations (not-for-profit, for profit or government) that use and/or accept and respect Auslan (Australian Sign Language). 

Posted in: Deaf Australia News, Media Release, Technology

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