Sophie Hague’s project, “Look!” was shortlisted by the Royal Society for Arts (RSA) 2021/2022 as a response to the Press Play brief for their student design awards, which was created to answer the question “How might we support all families, carers and communities to play and learn more creatively at home?”.
In the UK, 90% of deaf children are born to parents that have little or no experience of how to communicate with a deaf person. Many families struggle to communicate with their deaf child, creating a gap in social development, which consequently leads to slower rates in language development for deaf children.
Hague’s process for this project consisted of speaking to parents of deaf children, and gaining information about what resources currently exist to engage children in social play. She found that the play resources for this community are either inaccessible or non-existent which left a gap for a product which encouraged social play, however, after also speaking to parents whose children are able-hearing, she discovered that there is a growing demand for resources to learn British Sign Language.
Look! is an interactive app proposal that encourages children and parents to learn sign language through exploratory play. The app uses object detection technology, developed with artificial intelligence (AI), so the user will be able to point and scan the object they would like to learn how to sign, and the sign is then revealed on screen.