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Art + Tech: Designing for an accessible world with Hadeel Ayoub

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For National Disability History Month, Arts SU's Art+Tech programme hosted a talk by Hadeel Ayoub, an entrepreneur whose invention, Bright Sign, has reshaped the landscape of communication technology. Held at the High Holborn Creative Computing Institution, Ayoub's presentation shed light on her journey and the impact of Bright Sign on the nonverbal community. 

Ayoub, proficient in hardware, programming, and software design, began her mission with a vision to make an impact on the quality of life, particularly in virtual spaces. Specialising in creative coding, she blended programming with creative insight - contributing to social care through innovative applications of artificial intelligence, notably in gesture-controlled virtual environments. 

The emergence of Bright Sign arose from Ayoub's participation in an IBM hackathon, where she developed a simplified version of the glove for sign language translation. The widespread media coverage and subsequent inquiries highlighted the urgent need for accessible communication tools for individuals with hearing impairments. 

Transitioning her idea into a Ph.D. project, Ayoub dedicated three years to developing prototypes that addressed the communication needs of the nonverbal population. Her research revealed challenges in existing technology, including cost, lack of customisation, and limited support for sign language, accentuating the pressing need for innovation in this space. 

Despite having the series of hurdles Ayoub experienced, from refining hardware components to enhancing software capabilities, the evolution of Bright Sign resulted in a versatile product that facilitates two-way communication for sign language users and boasts features such as personalised voice options and offline functionality. 

The presentation provided insights into the extensive testing and refinement process that led to the product's launch, emphasizing user-centric design and continuous innovation. Beyond its intended application in sign language, Bright Sign holds promise in diverse markets, including gaming, rehabilitation, and support for stroke survivors. 

Ayoub's commitment to accessibility and inclusivity is reflected in her efforts to establish a recycling programme for the glove, ensuring affordability and sustainability for users. Through partnerships, community support, and educational initiatives, she seeks to equalise access to technology and empower individuals to create meaningful change. 

Hadeel Ayoub's talk stands as a testament to the power of innovation and compassion in driving positive social impact. Her journey highlights the transformative potential of technology when guided by a deep understanding of user needs and a steadfast commitment to inclusion. Bright Sign is an excellent example of the many amazing outcomes we can create when we combine Art + Tech.  

To see the talk click here (please note you will require you UAL login). 

Find out about Bright Sign here: 

Find out about Arts Su’s Art+Tech programme here: 



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