Communication Aids4th June 2015

App Roundup - June 2015

SL First takes a quick look at some interesting apps you might like

by SL First Tech Team

There’s been a couple of apps hitting the app store recently that we thought might be of interest to the readers – first up is BSL SwipeKey, a replacement keyboard for your iPhone and then Caribu which combines video chatting with children’s stories.

 BSL SwipeKey is created by a company called Le Sang who have already created many other keyboards previously, including one that allows you to type in Klingon from the TV show Star Trek. This time they have gone for something a little more useful and have released a keyboard that allows you to type using the BSL fingerspelling alphabet.

If you’re aware of other replacement keyboards like SwiftKey and Swype – you will also appreciate that it allows you to continue swiping between the letters of each word to allow for faster input.


It is probably most useful for those learning BSL who want some practice with their fingerspelling as I can’t think of many situations where reading this would be better than just reading written English. However, if this is something you fancy giving a try then you can download it via iTunes for your iPhone / iPad right now.

 The other app we are highlighting is the award winning Caribu, something that may come in very useful for deaf parents or parents of deaf children. This app allows you to combine story telling with a video call for those times when you can’t be together with the children in person.

The original idea after the creators saw a photograph of a solider awkwardly trying to read a storybook to their child by holding it up to a webcam. The app allows parents and grandparents to keep in touch with children by video chat and to read together while they are chatting; both sides can see the book and also each other. The app is free to download and comes with a free book to get people started, you can then purchase books through the app (approx £2-4) and start to collect them on your virtual bookshelf.

The app also has a ‘story guide’ feature that highlights the same part of page on the other person’s screen so you can point to words or make it easier for the children to follow which word is being read.

This seems like a great way for deaf familes to keep in touch and allows them to tell the children stories through BSL or when it is someone unfamiliar with BSL, it allows them to follow the words on screen while also being able to lip-read the person in the video call.

Unfortunately it's not currently available for Android or online, but if you would like to give Caribu a try and have an iPad or iPhone, you can download it from the iTunes store now.

Article by SL First Tech Team

posted in Technology / Communication Aids

4th June 2015