Israeli graduate make ‘augmented reality’ to help hearing-impaired people
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Israeli graduate make ‘augmented reality’ to help hearing-impaired people

Dalik Samkai, 33, devised a communications program to allow people with hearing difficulties see faces of those around them and read spoken words as if they were text balloons

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

A mature graduate of Jerusalem’s renowned Bezalel Academy of Art and Design has created a ground-breaking project aimed at helping deaf or hearing-impaired people.

Dalik Samkai, 33, has devised “Blubbles”, a visual communications program, to allow people with hearing difficulties see the faces of those around them and read their spoken words as if they were text balloons in a comic strip.

It is an “augmented reality” or AR program, which recognises human speech and creates a written version of it, by means of a facial recognition tool. Dalik, who was diagnosed with hearing loss when he was 17, thought up “Blubbles” when he saw his father, also hearing-impaired, struggle to keep track of Shabbat meal conversation.

The app is currently being shown at Bezalel’s graduate projects show. It’s presently available in Hebrew and English but Dalik says it can be developed to work in many other languages and also act as a translation tool, which would mean everyone, not just those with hearing loss, would be able to use it.

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