GoMedia, a subsidiary of Icomera, is developing a ground-breaking solution to improve public transport accessibility for passengers using British Sign Language (BSL). The development and testing of the solution, called ‘Project Luna’, will be funded by the Department for Transport (DfT), through the £5.3m First of a Kind 2023 (FOAK23) competition, delivered by Innovate UK (part of UKRI).
Luna: Your Personalised British Sign Language Avatar
GoMedia’s FOAK23 project, ‘Luna’, comprises a solution that translates digital information listed online into British Sign Language (BSL) and transmits it directly to the user through their smart device, by way of their own personalised digital sign language avatar.
Powered by Signapse technology, the Luna system will be integrated with GoMedia’s accessible wayfinding solution, ‘Visor’, giving users access to a wealth of information about their journey, in the way they need it, no matter where they are. Passengers can use their personal devices to access station and facility information, live departures and disruptions, station announcements, and navigational instructions, in BSL as well as audio and text, in as many as 33 different languages.
Signapse’s vision is to translate all the world’s words into sign language. This team of Deaf professionals, entrepreneurs, academics and linguists are using 20 years of research into Generative AI and 300 sign languages. They are creating the most elegant solution to the problem of dynamic and instant translation of transport announcements for the Deaf Community.
Developed for Passengers, Tested by Passengers
The technology will be trialled by UK transport operator Arriva Rail London, operator of the London Overground service, across five stations for a period of six months and will involve the use of a unique webpage accessed by URL or QR code. Luna will be tested alongside other end-to-end wayfinding systems and user feedback will be collected to determine which solution works best against a wide range of scenarios.
Roger Matthews, Chief Commercial Officer of Icomera and CEO of GoMedia, said: “We are pleased to deliver another innovative accessibility project through the ‘First of a Kind’ programme, adding to a portfolio of award-winning accessibility solutions that have been proven to give passengers more autonomy and independence in how they travel.
“With British Sign Language used by over 151,000 people in the UK, including it as a means of communicating important travel updates and wayfinding information is crucial in helping a large number of passengers who may otherwise struggle to make their journey. It therefore made perfect sense to trial GoMedia’s Luna solution, to provide a truly independent journey for our passengers.”
Sally Chalk, Signapse CEO, commented: “Our vision is to translate all the world’s words into sign language. There are 2,400 train stations in the UK in our database. This partnership means that Deaf passengers can access critical, real-time information about those stations in their pocket, giving our Community the control and choice that they need.”
Icomera subsidiary GoMedia was born out of a simple desire to make time spent on transport more enjoyable and accessible. By improving the passenger experience through its services, GoMedia is encouraging people to use public transport over less sustainable means of travel, and helping build a smarter, greener future for everyone. gomedia.io
Signapse is comprised of a strong team of successful entrepreneurs, leading researchers, and deep tech experts who came together during lockdown to create artificial intelligence solutions for clients who want access to sign language translation and interpretation. Announcements in public spaces, websites and videos can be inaccessible if you are Deaf and struggle to understand audio announcements. As sign language is the first language for most Deaf people, even written text is often inaccessible due to the difficulty of learning a written language without hearing the sounds. It is Signapse’s job to make sure organisations provide great access for Deaf people.
In the transport sector, Signapse provides automatic sign language announcements using the latest artificial intelligence techniques. At a fraction of the cost, at train stations, airports, or further afield – both regular and emergency announcements can be made in sign language. Available in both BSL & ASL, Signapse’s announcement technology enables accessibility to Deaf passengers in public spaces.
At a fundamental level in terms of cultural and linguistic awareness, Signapse is building technology for tomorrow that answers the needs of today. signapse.ai