May 26, 2022

Snapchat announced this week that it is introducing a new ASL letter lens to encourage users to learn American Sign Language. The new AR lens teaches users to write their name with their fingers and practice the ASL alphabet. Lens also includes games that users can play to test their ASL knowledge.

The social media company has partnered with Signall to use its computer vision and machine learning technologies to recognize users’ hand gestures. The new ASL Alphabet lenses were developed at Snap by a team of deaf and hard of hearing employees called “deaf people”.

“We hope that Lens will not only change the way the world develops, but will also help us feel closer to each other,” the company said in a blog post regarding the announcement. “For the first signatories in a world of language disparity, we believe that AR can help improve the way we communicate. We look forward to learning more from our community as we strive to continually improve the Snapchat experience for everyone.”

The new lens is a more advanced version of the fingerprint lens that Snap launched last September in partnership with Signall and is designed to teach users how to communicate using sign language.

In recent years, Snap has released several new AR lenses and also launched a $3.5 million fund to support Snapchat lens makers and developers using the company’s Lens Studio tool. At last year’s Lens Fest, the company announced that 250,000 lens manufacturers in over 200 countries have produced 2.5 million lenses that have been viewed more than 3.5 trillion times.

The new ASL Alphabet Lens is available to Snapchat users worldwide for iOS and Android.

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