Snapchat announced this week that it’s introducing a new ASL Alphabet lens to encourage users to start learning American Sign Language. The new AR lens will teach users to finger spell their name and practice the ASL alphabet. The lens also includes games that users can play to test their ASL knowledge.
The social media company has partnered with SignAll and is using its computer vision and machine learning technology to recognize users’ hand gestures. The new ASL Alphabet lens was developed by a team of deaf and hard-of-hearing employees at Snap called the “Deafengers.”
“We hope that Lenses not only evolve the way we see the world, but help us feel closer to one another,” the company said in a blog post about the announcement. “For native signers, in a world where linguistic inequity is prevalent, we believe AR can help evolve the way we communicate. We look forward to learning more from our community as we strive to continuously improve experiences for everyone on Snapchat.”
The new lens is a more advanced version of the finger spelling Lenses that Snap launched in partnership with SignAll last September that were designed to teach users how to communicate using sign language.
Snap has rolled out several new AR lenses over the past few years and even launched a $3.5 million fund that is directed toward supporting Snapchat lens creators and developers who are using the company’s Lens Studio tool. At its Lens Fest event last year, the company announced that 250,000 lens creators from more than 200 countries have made 2.5 million lenses that have been viewed more than 3.5 trillion times.
The new ASL Alphabet lens is available to Snapchat users globally, across iOS and Android.