Around the world there are over 600 million people who have hearing disabilities. Communicating with society at large can sometimes be difficult when you suffer from a condition that impairs your listening or speaking abilities. A new startup wants to bring fresh attention to the issue, and facilitate a more frictionless everyday life for the hearing impaired individuals who rely on sign language in their day-to-day communications.
KinTrans is a company creating a device which is designed to improve communication between deaf individuals and others. The solution aims to eliminate the need for the listener to know sign language, and makes it easier and quicker for the deaf person to communicate. This is achieved by using the company’s self-developed software in conjunction with the famous motion sensing device Kinect from Microsoft, creating a revolutionary real-time communication system for the hearing impaired that translates sign language into voice and text. According to i360Accelerator the potential application scenes include airports, super markets, taxi services, educational institutions and mobile agencies. In other words, any place that there is need for deaf people to communicate with others is a potential application area.
Arabian Business reports that the Egyptian company beat 14 other businesses and emerged as the Grand Prize winner at the Dubai regional round of Seedstars World – a global contest for start-ups emerging markets. This effort took the company to Geneva, where they recently took on 30 other regional winners. The Seedstars competition was eventually won by the Philippine human resources startup Salarium, but according to the Wall Street Journal, Kintrans has received a notable amount of attention from investors. For instance, as the following video shows, they recently partnered with Intel to develop new cameras for accomplishing their mission:
The seed of the idea to KinTrans began to grow inside the mind of founder Mohamed Elwazer many years ago, when he witnessed a disturbing scene. The entrepreneurial magazine Wamda writes that Elwazer was haunted by the memories of being at a train station many years ago, witnessing a security officer behaving brusquely with a young boy who appeared to be deaf-mute. As Elwazer watched the hapless boy struggle to communicate with the officer, who continued to reprimand him despite his obvious inability to speak, Elwazer wished there was a way the boy could communicate in a way that the officer could understand. This episode stuck with Elwazer long after he secured his engineering degree at university. Together with likeminded fellow student and friend Eman Hassan he set to work, trying to understand the nuances of sign language and natural user interfaces to eventually launch KinTrans.
The initiative has the potential to open a new world of communication for the hearing impaired. According to the Middle Eastern tech news site BarakaBits, the company’s next round of funding between $2-3 million is going to be used for scaling production and market penetration, and KinTrans also has a goal of creating a mobile application down the line.