Aardman partners with Huawei to launch StorySign, an app which helps deaf children learn to read

StorySign, an app using Artificial Intelligence that will help enrich story time for deaf children and their parents has been created by agency FCB Inferno, technology leaders Huawei, publishing partner Penguin and animation specialists Aardman. Huawei also worked with local charities affiliated with the European Union of the Deaf including the British Deaf Association.

StorySign helps to open the world of books to deaf children and their families; users simply hold their phone up to the words on the page and avatar Star signs the story as the printed words are highlighted. This helps parents and children to learn to read together and at their own pace. 

“When creating Star, the character for StorySign, we first had to immerse ourselves in the world of sign language,” comments Neil Pymer, Interactive Creative Director, Aardman. 

“The complexity we found is overwhelming so we needed to make sure that we created a character that not only resonated with the audience but also fulfilled its main job of teaching children to read. For example, we learned that facial expressions play a critical role in sign language, so we created a character to embody that expressivity. At the same time, Star was designed to seem like an older sibling, somebody who will guide you through the book. Seeing the reactions of children when realising that Star signs the words in the book is something very special indeed.”

“StorySign is not just another Christmas campaign, it’s an initiative that we genuinely hope will help deaf children enjoy the world of books,” said Frazer Gibney, CEO, FCB Inferno. ‘Huawei’s technology is empowering great things, and I am thrilled that we are working with them on work that is both purposeful and creatively interesting.”

StorySign can be downloaded for free from the Huawei AppGallery and the Google Play Store in 10 markets across Western Europe.