Ensenas: A Digital Platform to Improve Communication for the Hearing Impaired

Tool to Improve Communication

The lack of education and tools about Mexican Sign Language to improve the communication and experience of hearing-impaired people in Mexico has led designers Saeli Seira Saenz and Alana Betanzo Carriles to create awareness and promote inclusion through a digital platform.

Ensenas is a unique initiative that aims to bridge the communication gap between people with hearing disabilities and those without. By harnessing the power of technology and machine learning, Ensenas offers a real-time reading of Mexican Sign Language, eliminating the need for individuals to learn the language themselves.

The project began with extensive research into the challenges faced by the hearing-impaired community in Mexico. Limited resources and tools for creating an inclusive environment were identified as major obstacles. To address this, the designers conducted interviews with experts, carried out case studies, and surveyed individuals to gain a deeper understanding of the perception of hearing impairment.

One of the key findings was the learning curve associated with sign language, which often hindered its widespread use. Additionally, basic tasks that most people take for granted were found to be more complicated for those with hearing disabilities, limiting their independence. Ensenas was conceived as a solution to these challenges, offering a new way of communication that facilitates interaction in real-time.

The Ensenas platform utilizes a machine learning model, specifically a LSM Model, to translate words from Mexican Sign Language into written Spanish and vice versa. This model has been trained using a dataset consisting of 400 videos of the most commonly used words in Mexican Sign Language. Through the use of pose estimation and supervised learning, the model can accurately detect patterns in poses, identifying words, letters, numbers, and phrases without the need for human intervention.

To make this project accessible to the public, a digital platform was created where anyone can freely download the research, LSM recognition model, and the generated dataset. This open approach allows other developers, technology companies, and educational institutions to leverage the project and create more inclusion tools for the non-hearing community.

Ensenas has been recognized for its innovative and practical approach to social design. It was awarded the Iron A' Design Award in 2023, a prestigious accolade given to well-designed creations that meet professional and industrial requirements. The project's integration of industry best practices and competent technical characteristics contribute to a better world, providing fulfillment and positive feelings.

Ensenas is not just a digital platform; it is a symbol of inclusivity and a step towards a more accessible future for the hearing-impaired community in Mexico.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Eduardo Guizar Vukovich
Image Credits: Eduardo Guizar Vukovich
Project Team Members: Saeli Seira Sáenz Alana Betanzo Carriles
Project Name: Ensenas
Project Client: Eduardo Guizar Vukovich

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