Snapchat is teaching users ASL through AR

Snapchat is introducing a new ASL alphabet learning lens called “Sign With Snap.” The lens will teach you how to “fingerspell your name, practice the ASL Alphabet, and play games that put new skills to the test”.

Snap’s aim is to help users feel closer to one another through shared communication. This feature is led by a group of deaf and hard-of-hearing team members at Snap called the ‘Deafengers.’ The social media giant is partnering with SignAll to use technology to capture users’ fingerspelling. The lens was built using the hand-tracking technology behind last year’s randomizer fingerspelling lenses. The lens was in honor of International Week of the Deaf.

For native signers, in a world where linguistic inequity is prevalent, we believe AR can help evolve the way we communicate. We look forward to learning more from our community as we strive to continuously improve experiences for everyone on Snapchat.

This new feature comes to Snapchat just after the Apple TV+ film CODA won at the Academy Awards. CODA is about a “Child of Deaf Adults” (CODA) who discovers her love of singing and has to choose between her family duties and following her dreams of her.

Snapchat has been upping its AR game for some time now. Last year, it purchased AR display supplier WaveOptics in a $500 million deal. It also bought another display company, Compound Photonics. Just last month it purchased NextMind, a neurotech startup whose technology will help evolve Snap’s Spectacles AR glasses.

The ASL learning lens is now available to try on Snapchat for iOS and Android.

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