Snapchat, Saudi Ministry of Culture Launch AR Lens for Deaf Community

Snapchat has announced the launch of an AR lens in partnership with the Saudi Ministry of Culture to help the deaf community engage in interactive experiences. The event, which took place at the Riyadh Book Fair in Saudi Arabia, marked the first launch of Arabic sign language lens in the region.

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First Arabic Sign Language Lens at Riyadh Book Fair

The lens allows the camera to recognize and interpret 28 different gestures in the Arabic alphabet used in Arabic Sign language. It will also introduce a special filter design experience for children, aimed to promote children’s love of reading.

Users will also have a chance to ride a book-shaped hot air balloon emblazoned with the words “Reading Uplifts You” alongside the Riyadh Book Fair brand logo.

Mohammed Hasan Alwan, CEO of The Literature, Publishing & Translation Commission, expressed his delight over the collaboration:  

“We are proud of the fruitful partnership with Snapchat in various events held in the Kingdom. This year’s participation in the Book Fair is unique and innovative, as we are launching special services for the deaf community.

“We look forward to the impressive results of the augmented reality experiences at the exhibition, which align with our mission to promote cultural exchange and make literature more accessible to different segments of society through the positive impact on visitors.”

AR as a Competitive Edge

Abdulla Alhammadi, Regional Business Lead for KSA Market at Snap Inc, emphasized the importance of AR for businesses: “Companies and brands that adopt a winning AR strategy now will have a competitive advantage.”

Abdulla explained how 83 percent of consumers expressed their interest in augmented reality (AR) for learning. He also pointed out that AR offers significant opportunities to enhance learning, ranging from educational guides to recipes and more.

He further emphasized that this represents the greatest untapped opportunity for brands to become early adopters, which highlights the increasing interest in AR for educational purposes.

Back in 2022, Snapchat launched a filter called ASL Alphabet Lens, which aims to bridge the gap between deaf and sighted people by helping them learn basic sign language.

Also read: Snap Launches New Tools to Entice More Brands to Invest in AR Experiences 

Snapchat’s Mission of Empathy and Inclusion

The AR Lens, the result of a collaboration between Snapchat and tech company SignAll, teaches users how to spell their name with their fingers and practice the American Sign Language alphabet. It comes with a game that tracks and detects the user’s learning.

According to the National Association of the Deaf, there are about 48 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States. The ASL Alphabet filter is a tool that can effectively assist the normal person to communicate with the deaf. Snapchat wants to make the world aware of the importance of sign language.

The interesting thing about this is that Lens uses artificial intelligence to “see” the user’s hand movements and remind the user whether they are doing it properly. In addition, the filter’s entire development team is made up of deaf engineers.

Snapchat says the ASL Alphabet Lens is part of their mission to “enhance empathy through education.” They hope to bridge the gap between normal people and special groups through the app, and this is just the first step.Now Snapchat’s AR Lens, launched in partnership with the Saudi Ministry of Culture, proves this idea even more. The partnership aims to promote inclusion and technological progress, emphasizing the importance of accessibility for all.


Ivy Wu

Ivy Wu was a media reporter at btw media. She graduated from Korea University with a major in media and communication, and has rich experience in reporting and news writing.

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