Samsung’s human touch brings Good Vibes for the deaf and blind people
In the movie ‘Black’, through the lead character Michele McNally, we get a glimpse into the terrifying and terribly isolated world of a person who is both deaf and blind. She finds a saviour in the form of retired teacher Debraj Sahai.
But today, technology and innovation have been striving to make the world a more accessible place for the specially-abled people. Be it advancement in bio-mechatronics for mobility, tools like ‘Blink to Speak’ that gives people paralysed the ability to communicate by blinking their eyes, or using smartphones and voice assistants to make it easy to navigate through one’s daily lives.
South Korean tech giant Samsung has introduced two new technological solutions – Good Vibes and Relumino – that will provide the specially-abled people (especially deaf and blind) a strong communication tool and enable people with low vision to see better.
Good Vibes enables the deaf, blind and mute people to have a two-way communication with their caregivers and loved ones using their smartphones.
Peter Rhee, Corporate Vice President, Samsung India, said, “We are happy that we were able to develop technologies such as Good Vibes and Relumino that will help improve quality of life of the deaf and blind people and people with low vision, allowing them to become more aware of the world around them and better integrate with society.”
The Good Vibes app uses Morse code to convert vibrations into text or voice and vice-versa. The app has two different user interfaces (UI). One interface has an invisible UI for the deaf-blind, which uses vibrations, taps and gestures, while the other has a visible UI, a standard chat interface, for the caregiver.
With the deaf-blind interface, a person uses a combination of dots and dashes to send their messages. The standard interface allows users to type or use voice to send messages to the deaf-blind. The text or voice is received as vibrations in Morse code that the deaf and blind people can interpret.
The app is available on the Samsung App Store. However, it will soon be available on the Google Play Store for all Android users.
We’ve seen in the past where brands have taken up several initiatives for the differently-abled, environment conservation and several other social issues. It is not only about the campaign or the TVCs, but mainly about the technology that they have created for which impact in tangible.
This is where technology plays its most vital role in our world. Technology isn’t only about making life easier or letting you reach from point A to B in a matter of minute. Moments like these, where technology has a massive social impact and allows the people to do things they couldn’t do otherwise really shows its importance.
This technology will definitely allow the deaf and blind people to integrate themselves into society in a far superior way and Samsung has hit the right spot with this.
With this app and working with the deaf and blind, there is definitely a training process involved in introducing this technology to the people who require it. We spoke to Trivikram Thakore, Senior Vice President, Samsung India, to understand this training process. He explained that the first thing they did was to teach the functionalities of the app to the teachers and started the process in Ahmedabad. After that process was done, they had specially curated workshops with their partners Sense India, who work with the deaf and blind for their betterment. The workshops were spread across Delhi and Bangalore with participants across the country. The workshops not only introduced them to the app but they were also trained to understand Morse Code. This was a hands-on approach by Samsung to train both the deaf and blind people and their caregivers.
Samsung is planning to open up more training centers for the deaf and blind people and their caregivers so that more people can benefit from this technology. After Ahmedabad, Delhi and Bangalore, the new training centers will open up in cities like Goa, Raipur and Ujjain and Nasik.
Samsung teamed up with their long serving creative agency Cheil for this campaign. Thakore further said that they looked into the lives of the people for whom the campaign is done to have a better understanding about their lives and to relate with it. With the help of Sense India, they saw and lived the lives of the deaf and blind people. They also interacted and heard about the challenges faced by the deaf and blind people.
Thakore added, “Samsung always keeps the consumer first. Since the campaign was targeted towards the deaf and blind people, we really wanted to live their lives, keep them first so that the possibilities of Good Vibes can really be showcased and be a huge part in helping the deaf and blind people.”
Emmanuel Upputuru, Chief Creative Officer, Cheil India, added here, “The team did a lot of research on the challenges faced by the deaf and blind people and their caregivers. Since they cannot speak, hear or see, they depend on touch for all communication. If you are not within their reach, there is no way to communicate with them. Samsung Good Vibes delivers them and their caregivers from this limitation. So, we just captured that in the story.”
Communication is a huge problem for the deaf and blind people.
This technology will definitely eliminate such barriers for them. Through these workshops there are already human stories coming out as Samsung interacts with the deaf and blind people. Such stories were pointed out to us of deaf and blind people students who were training to learn Morse Code to use the app. Even though they can’t see, hear or speak, the deaf and blind people have really sharp mind. Morse Code is difficult to pick up, but these students picked up the language in two days with training sessions of just 4 hours each. This just goes to show the kind of possibilities such initiatives have and the impact they can have on society.
Samsung has been known to give back to society through its technological ideas. They have had several campaigns for the differently-abled to help them live their lives easily. One such campaign was the #VoiceForever campaign, which talks about the Samsung Bixby voice assistant service. The story showcases a daughter-mother relationship and how Samsung Bixby comes into the picture when the mother goes through a Motor Neuron Disease and loses the ability to speak or move. Samsung Bixby can be used to record voices that can in turn be used as the voice assistant. The film also showcases how the daughter calls the assistant “Mamma” and asks her questions just like she would ask her mother.
The human touch element of such campaigns really not only impact the people but also showcase the possibilities of technology. As said earlier, technology really showcases its importance in situations where it improves the lives of people.