SignLab’s sign language learning app helps Deaf and hearing communities to connect, communicate and collaborate. The digital platform both empowers families to thrive and supports the Deaf community.
Deaf and hard-of-hearing children face various forms of exclusion. Due to the lack and often prohibitive cost of sign language classes, millions of children cannot communicate with their own families, let alone get an education. In fact, 90 per cent of children with severe hearing loss worldwide do not attend school, and fewer than 1 in 10 parents of deaf children know how to sign.
To ensure that all deaf children around the world can prosper and participate fully in society, it is essential to encourage their parents to understand and start learning sign language as soon as possible.
SignLab is developing a digital learning platform that makes learning sign language more accessible, effective and affordable. The platform can be accessed anywhere, at any time – either online or offline.
SignLab can be used on its own or as a component of classroom learning. The integrated videos help users to acquire the hand shapes, body language, facial expressions and spatial representation needed to sign fluently, while the platform’s artificial intelligence ensures that signs are not only learned but retained over time. Users report that the app is easy to use, especially for beginners.
Many different groups can benefit from SignLab, including deaf children and adults, friends and family, sign language teachers, student interpreters and language enthusiasts. Current users range from Norwegian health clinics to Indonesian kindergartens.
One of the platform’s core innovations is its ability to quickly scale up to support new user groups and languages, giving the platform global reach. In 2021 the platform will expand to China, India and Indonesia, thus providing over 60 per cent of the world’s deaf population, along with their families, schools and communities, with access to a sign language by 2022.
Since its launch in 2019, SignLab has quickly become the leading resource for learning Norwegian sign language. Over 20 000 people are now using the platform in Norway. In addition, SignLab has received funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) to introduce the app in several developing countries.
SignLab aims for both high impact and high growth. Its market strategy is to strike a balance between low-income and high-income countries, working in cooperation with experienced local partners, schools, governments, companies and grassroots organisations.
The company plans to expand to France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK in the near future.
3. Good health and well-being
SignLab helps to remove the communication barriers that divide deaf children and their families.
4. Quality education
SignLab helps to ensure that deaf and hard-of-hearing children worldwide have access to quality education.
10. Reduced inequalities
SignLab promotes the use of sign language and generates opportunities for the Deaf community by enabling hearing and Deaf communities to connect, communicate and collaborate.