The Sign-Speak Communication Revolution, Part Two

Sun Jun 20 2021

You might have wondered why our technology is as important as we make it out to be. You may even have thought to ask “how are we creating a revolution in communication?” The best way to answer that question is to start from the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Prior to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals (D/HH) were not afforded with basic protections and services that would enable them to be able to have access to many of the institutions their fellow human beings would have easy use of. D/HH would often have to rely upon close friends and family for assistance for both very simple things (like going to the store) and more important matters (like legal representation or hospital visits). The ADA made it so that companies are compelled by law to provide accommodations that take into consideration the needs of D/HH individuals, and those experiencing other barriers.

Now, even though the ADA requires businesses to offer services that enable equal access for their D/HH clientele, this has proven difficult to pursue in an affordable and effective manner. Their options used to be either to employ an interpreter, write notes back and forth, or, worst of all, rely on lipreading. Few businesses can afford a full-time interpreter on staff, so for the vast majority of small and medium businesses often provide no accessible options. Lipreading is a notoriously inaccurate method, with as little as 30% of speech is understood from lip reading. Therefore, for most circumstances, ASL users would be forced to type into their smartphones or notebooks to communicate with their hearing interlocutors.

There are some major technical advancements that have sought to make communication between D/HH and the hearing world easier. Unfortunately all established technologies put the onus on the D/HH individual to accommodate the hearing world, whether that be through donning expensive motion capture equipment, or going through surgery to acquire a Cochlear Implant.

Our principal competitors use high tech gadgets that have been in development over the last few decades. One of these methods is to employ a glove and sleeve-like apparatus that allows a computer to track an individual as they Sign. While this method is somewhat accurate, it completely ignores facial expressions, which are a key component of sign language. This technique, in addition to being incomplete, has the added drawback of both an enormous expense and a complete lack of authenticity in human interaction. These drawbacks are shared by the 3D camera studio booths, which are a bit like a closet you go into so your movements and expressions can be captured by many different cameras.

Our technology is not only more accurate than our competitors, it requires no expensive technical equipment. All you need is your smartphone, or any other computing device with a camera. When an ASL user Signs into the camera, it will automatically be translated and transcribed in real-time, captioning the ASL user’s intended message in English. When the interlocutor speaks English, the reverse process takes place. It is that easy, no expertise required. While our solution is not perfect, we are constantly seeking feedback to improve both the accuracy and the communication modality. From our extensive usability studies, we’ve found that our technology, while certainly not a replacement for a qualified interpreter, can allow for genuine and authentic communication.

The magic is made when we apply machine learning and artificial intelligence to our vast and expanding dataset to generate software that accurately captures the meaning of natural, unscripted interactions in ASL. This reality is continuing to expand all the time as we continue to innovate in the data augmentation space, and use that to further refine our patent pending technology.

It is our intention to bring our technology across the country, and to allow for authentic interpersonal communications around the world.

Thus far we have demonstrated our commitment to conscious capitalism. With customers lining up to have Sign-Speak stationed around the world, the weary investor may be wondering whether our company is worth investing in. After all, they may wonder “what good is this technology if we might not make the big bucks on it?”

Have no fear on that count. Read the next post to find out what are the monetary incentives for potential investors!