What issue are you trying to solve?
Lower understanding of sign language has left the Deaf community marginalized and unable to access basic health care services. This has been attributed to the fact that Global Hearing aid production only reaches 10% of the deaf population (446 Million) and the number of trained sign language translators is inadequate to serve the current deaf population. This has hugely contributed to the increasing losses of deaf lives in hospitals, an example being Alfred Weinrib, an 83-year Cancer Stricken Deaf person who died without even knowing his diagnosis after 3 hospitals failed to provide a sign language interpreter for 7 months. There are a lot of people like Alfred, his story is a testament to the problems more than 446 Million Deaf individuals around the world go through on their daily lives.
What is your approach to this issue?
Unveiling Beacon Chat, a mobile application that catalyzes Internet of Things to provide an inclusive communication platform for both deaf and hearing individuals, applying Natural Language Processing to translate between sign language and text. This way, individuals like Alfred can access basic health care without the need of a sign language interpreter, reducing the cost of accessing health care by 94% from $150/hour to $9/lifetime. Moreover, Beacon Chat is one stop interface for other Medical Internet of Things devices, capturing patient data that is critical for diagnosis and treatment.
What is the potential impact of your initiative?
Our impact is aligned with the achievement of sustainable development goals where, by facilitating access of sexual and reproductive information
to disabled women in underserved areas we help in achievement of Goal 5: GENDER EQUALITY, and 10 REDUCED INEQUALITY. While piloting in Kenya with just a Minimum Viable Product, Beacon Chat managed to empower more than 1600 deaf lives. One of our success stories is Atieno, a deaf girl who works at a local VCT Center in Nairobi, Kenya. In her daily role she interacts with more than 50 youth seeking sexual and reproductive health consultation. ThroughBeacon Chat, she is able to attend to her patients without the need of a sign language interpreter. Beacon Chat opened up Atieno’s life in more ways than imagined, giving her a chance to partake in the achievement of Universal Health Coverage and also a means to sustain her career as a result we help achieve Goal 3: Health and Well Being and Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.