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HUAWEI LAUNCHES STORYSIGN A UNIQUE AI-POWERED APP FOR THE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING CHILDREN Huawei uses the power of AI to help deaf children and their parents learn and enjoy reading together

Huawei uses the power of AI to help deaf children and their parents learn and enjoy reading together

SYDNEY, 17 December 2018 – Huawei Australia has today announced the launch of StorySign, an AI-powered app that helps enrich story time for deaf and hard of hearing children and their parents. This follows the global announcement earlier this month. There are approximately 32 million deaf children globally and around 250 – 400 deaf children are born in Australia each year*. Many struggle to learn to read, often due to a lack of options that help bridge sign language learning and reading. StorySign uses the power of Huawei’s AI (Artificial Intelligence) to create an authentic reading experience, helping to open the world of books to deaf children and their families.

Pioneered by Huawei and available in Australia from February 2019, StorySign will feature the popular children’s book, Where’s Spot at launch. With the help of StorySign’s friendly avatar Star and using the power of Huawei AI, the app translates the featured book into perfect sign language page by page delivering a seamless, happy and rewarding experience.

“At Huawei, we believe in the power of AI and that technology can make a positive difference in the world” comments Lisa Connors, Huawei Australia Corporate Responsibility Manager. “We created StorySign to help make it possible for families with deaf children to enjoy the truly magical moments of story time.”
Created with experts and charities from the deaf community, StorySign was developed to ensure its use as a genuinely useful tool for families with deaf and hearing-impaired children.”

Huawei Australia has entered a partnership with local charity organisation, Deaf Australia, to encourage support and donation for those affected. Through this partnership, Huawei will offer the StorySign app to the Australian deaf community and aim to raise awareness of deaf literacy more broadly.

“Deaf children don’t learn to read in the same way as hearing children. Many struggle to learn how to read because they can’t match words with sounds. The deaf community is in need of accessible content to address children’s literacy development needs and digital tools like StorySign is addressing this necessity. For this reason, we are privileged to be working with Huawei on the StorySign project and how, through the use of AI and innovative technology, it could enrich the lives of Australian deaf children and their families in a meaningful way.” comments Kyle Miers, CEO of Deaf Australia.

“We’re very hopeful that it will make a significant impact in the deaf community, helping more deaf children learn how to read at the same level as hearing children. We also hope the launch of StorySign will support a wider conversation about ensuring equality in every aspect of their lives for deaf people.” says Mark Wheatley, Executive Director, European Union of the Deaf.

Sign has no written form as there is no direct English word-for-word translation, which poses a huge challenge to deaf children when learning to read. Huawei’s StorySign app, in conjunction with a compatible smartphone and physical book, delivers a magical story time experience for both parent and child.

Created with experts and charities from the deaf community across Europe and in Australia, StorySign uses Huawei AI featuring powerful Image Recognition and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to provide greater accuracy even when the child or parent positions the phone at an angle from the book. The AI further optimises the speed at which pages from the book loads in the app meaning that children won’t be left waiting too long to find out what happens next in the story.

StorySign launches in Australia with a film by Academy Award® winning director Chris Overton and starring seven-year-old actress Maisie Sly, both of whom worked on Oscar®-winning short film The Silent Child. The StorySign film sees a young girl struggling to read with her father on Christmas Eve. Later that night when she sneaks downstairs to peak at her presents, she is stunned to see Santa who hands her a book for a gift. Upon realising that the little girl is deaf, Santa begins to sign the book to her and in that moment, she is the happiest little girl in the world, as he helps her enjoy the magic of story time.
Partners involved in the app development include Deaf Australia, the European Union of the Deaf and its local charities across Western Europe, publishing partner Penguin and the acclaimed animation specialists of Wallace & Grommit fame, Aardman.

“When creating Star, the character for StorySign, we first had to immerse ourselves in the world of sign language,” comments Neil Pymer, Interactive Creative Director, Aardman. “The complexity we found is overwhelming, so we needed to make sure that we created a character that not only resonated with the audience but also fulfilled its main job of teaching children to read. For example, we learned that facial expressions play a critical role in sign language, so we created a character to embody that expressivity. At the same time, Star was designed to seem like an older sibling, somebody who will guide you through the book. Seeing the reactions of children when realising that Star signs the words in the book is something very special indeed.”

StorySign can be downloaded for free from Google Play Store and the Huawei AppGallery in 10 markets across Western Europe. It will be made available in Australia from February 2019 with compatibility with Auslan.

To watch the film and learn how you can help, visit Donations can be made via the StorySign campaign hub on the Huawei website. All money raised will support deaf child literacy projects across Europe and in Australia, including more books for StorySign.


Love Actually kicks off 12 Days of Christmas on Foxtel Movies Watch live or stream on FoxFlicks, Foxtel Go and Foxtel Now From 6.00am Friday December 14 – Christmas Day

Media Release: Friday December 14, 2018

Love Actually kicks off
12 Days of Christmas on Foxtel Movies
Watch live or stream on FoxFlicks, Foxtel Go and Foxtel Now
From 6.00am Friday December 14 – Christmas Day

Foxtel’s 12 Days of Christmas pop up starts today with Love Actually kicking off a line-up of the biggest and most nostalgic titles in the lead up to Christmas – all available to stream On Demand on FoxFlicks, Foxtel Go and Foxtel Now.

Join in the Christmas movie countdown from 6am today (Friday December 14) until Christmas Day (Tuesday December 25 2018) and get into the spirit with the all-time, all-star romantic comedy hits Love Actually (Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Kiera Knightly), The Holiday (Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Jack Black) and The Family Stone (Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdam, Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes, Luke Wilson)

Christmas movie lovers still can’t get enough of Elf’s (Will Ferrel) shenanigans from the North Pole to the big city, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s antics in Jingle All the Way, or Kevin McCallister’s (Macaulay Culkin) escapades when he’s Home Alone. And Christmas Eve wouldn’t be the same without a little Bruce Willis action in Die Hard, nor the holidays without Chevy Chase and his National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

Don’t forget to laugh yourself silly with the recently released Bad Mom’s 2 (Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell) and Daddy’s Home 2 (Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell). And sprinkle on a few animations that bring that Christmas magic to life including Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, Dr. Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You.

FoxFlicks On Demand also features over 70 movie titles on the Christmas is Coming and Merry Me Christmas Movies playlists. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be thankful for your own family and wondering what maple syrup really is like on spaghetti as you binge the best and most outrageous Christmas movies on offer.

The 12 Days of Christmas Movie Pop Up will screen the following festive favourites in HD to Foxtel Movies and Foxtel Platinum subscribers on Channel 404 and On Demand via FoxFlicks, Foxtel Go and Foxtel Movies:

Friday December 14: Love Actually (2003)
Love’s causing chaos all over London. Even the PM is smitten. Ten separate stories intertwine in a Christmas Eve climax in this romantic comedy that includes Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson.

Saturday December 15: Elf (2003)
After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity. Stars Will Ferrell and James Caan.

Sunday December 16: Die Hard (1988)
High above the city of LA, a team of terrorists has seized a building, taken hostages, and declared war. But one man has managed to escape detection – an off duty cop with only a service revolver. Stars Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman.

Monday December 17: Dr. Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
On the outskirts of Whoville, there lives a green, revenge-seeking Grinch who plans on ruining the Christmas holiday for all of the citizens of the town. Starring Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen and Jeffrey Tambour.

Tuesday December 18: The Family Stone (2005)
An uptight, conservative businesswoman accompanies her boyfriend to his eccentric and outgoing family’s annual Christmas celebration and finds that she’s a fish out of water in their free-spirited way of life. Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes, Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, Luke Wilson and many more.

Wednesday December 19: The Santa Claus (1994)
A divorced dad accidentally knocks off Santa and inherits his job. He gains weight, grows a white beard and meets the elves who run the North Pole, while trying to hide it all from his family. Stars Tim Allen, Wendy Crewson and Judge Reinhold.

Thursday December 20: Home Alone (1990)
An 8-year-old boy is accidentally left home alone in the Christmas holidays by his family and ends up using all his wits to foil two dastardly thieves. Stars Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern.

Friday December 21: Daddy’s Home 2 (2017)
Having finally gotten used to each other’s existence, Brad and Dusty must now deal with their intrusive fathers during the holidays. Starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson and John Lithgow.

Saturday December 22: The Polar Express (2004)
On Christmas Eve, a doubting boy boards a magical train that’s headed to the North Pole and Santa Claus’s home. Voices of Tom Hanks and Chris Coppola.

Sunday December 23: Jingle All the Way (1996)
It’s right before Christmas and high-powered businessman Howard Langston is fighting a shopping war in order to buy his son the hottest action figure of the season, Turbo Man. Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, James Belushi and Phil Hartman.

Monday December 24: Fred Claus (2007)
Santa’s brother Fred, who has lost belief in Christmas, discovers that a scheming efficiency expert is out to shut down Christmas forever. Stars Vince Vaughn, Rachel Weisz, Paul Giamatti, Elizabeth Banks and Kathy Bates.

Tuesday December 25: Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Six-year old Susan had doubts about childhood’s most enduring miracle – Santa Claus. In this new holiday miracle, a little girl discovers her dreams can come true if you really believe. Stars Mara Wilson, Elizabeth Perkins and Richard Attenborough.

Additional titles on the Foxtel Movies Pop Up include:

The Holiday (2006)
Iris is in love with a man who is marrying another woman. Across the globe, Amanda, realizes the man she lives with has been unfaithful. They meet online at a home exchange website and impulsively switch homes for the holiday. Stars Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black.

Bad Moms 2 (2017)
In addition to hosting their own mothers, our three under-appreciated and over-burdened women rebel against the challenges and expectations of the Super Bowl for moms: Christmas. Stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Susan Sarandon.

Home Alone 2: Lost New York (1992)
(1992) One year after Kevin was left home alone and had to defeat a pair of bumbling burglars, he accidentally finds himself in New York City, and the same criminals are not far behind. Stars Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern.

The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)
Tells the tale of the magical journey that led to the creation of “A Christmas Carol” forever changing the holiday season we celebrate today. Stars Christopher Plummer and Dan Stevens.

Gremlins (1984)
Hilarious, subversive and wickedly scary film about Gizmo the mogwai, a cuddly critter that multiplies with savage consequences. Great special effects and amazingly realistic mechanical creatures. Stars Zach
Galligan and Phoebe Cates.

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home cause confusion. Animation voiced by Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon and Catherine O’Hara.

Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You (2017)
After Mariah sees a puppy, she knows what she wants for Christmas. She must prove that she can dog-sit the worst dog! Voices of Mariah Carey and Henry Winkler.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
The Griswold family’s plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster. Stars Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki.

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