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Rocket men develop new Avatar based sign language for Deaf users

New start up in Lebanon launches apps in USA and the Middle East for Deaf and hard of hearing people

Monday 9 October
Rocket men develop new Avatar based sign language for Deaf users

EditorOctober 09 at 07:00

For most of us, on the most part, conversations are as easy as they come. For 360 million people -over 5% of the world’s population, according to the World Health Organization- that have disabling hearing loss, conversations can be a challenge. MENA startup Mind Rockets Inc wants to change that, and they’ve tasked themselves with the mission of developing assistive tech solutions to make the world accessible to the deaf community.
The founders of Mind Rockets, Mahmoud Al-Darawsheh and Mohammad Al-Kilani, pointed out that illiteracy was a huge challenge for the deaf, as reading and writing may not come as naturally since written and spoken words are a second language for them: "The mother language for a deaf person is his community’s visual three-dimensional language." With a focus on the deaf and hard of hearing (DHOH), the Jordan-based startup develops smart animated avatars that translate text or speech to sign language.
The avatars are used for two of the startup’s apps: Mimix3D for American sign language, and Al Turjuman for Arabic sign language, both available on iOS and Android devices. Realizing the avatars’ market potential, Mind Rockets wanted to release it for a bigger market: the team thus went on to develop a customized solution for pharmacies, and it recently rolled out websites integrated with avatars to provide content in Arabic sign language. According to the founders, this is their distinct advantage- with Mind Rockets, entities can reach a significant segment by making an avenue for businesses to cater to an overlooked demographic, and to provide equal access to content and services for the deaf community- a win-win situation for both. Al-Kilani stresses on the need for the startup: "We are providing a very basic human need, it’s not something secondary, every deaf person has the right to access to information and services."
The team found research on how only 1-2% get access to sign language classes, as well as the huge lack of human interpreters. However, Al-Kilani points out how they don’t aspire to replace human interpreters, but rather, let the avatars fulfill a "serious and substantial" part of the gap. Though there’s a Brazilian competitor specializing in Portuguese sign language, the startup has gained an upper hand as a first-mover in the assistive tech field with their real-time video and website interpreting avatars, plus customized solutions for the medical field, such as pharmacies. Source: Entrepreneur Middle East

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