Communication Aids21st May 2015

High Five!

A new app invented by a 17 year old Polish boy has found some unplanned users in the Deaf Community.

by SL First Tech Team

 A new app invented by a 17 year old Polish boy has recently  found some unexpected users in the Deaf Community.

 Mateusz Mach originally intended the Five App to be a way for young people like himself to communicate quickly with friends but without other people being able to read messages over their shoulder or perhaps to be impossible for a parent to understand if they were to read the messages.

We reached out to Mat to ask if he'd thought about it's use by the Deaf community before making it and he said, "Honestly speaking - no. I found out that FiveApp is also useful for Deaf people when Cindy from the USA wrote to me. She was impressed by the capabilities of our hand sign creator." And what about his thoughts now that he knows some deaf people have found it particularly useful: "It’s a very fast, fun, and creative way to transmit short messages. They saw that FiveApp is a cool way to send signs, whether you're hard of hearing or not. I'm glad our app has found an audience, and I hope I'll be able to reach out to the community to make the app a better communication tool for anyone who needs it".

The app isn’t going to be able to reproduce any full signed language as only a single hand is available and there’s no face or body, but it could be a way of sending a very quick message like a ‘thumbs up’, ‘high five’ or ‘I love you’. As well as users having a small selection of built-in hand shapes to choose from, the app allows you to create and save your own by manipulating an on-screen hand it's possible to create 40,000 different signs.


There have also been rumours that the Five app might see an integrated International Sign Language dictionary to allow for even faster sending of words and signs. Mat confirmed he's currently looking into this saying "Currently I’m talking with companies dealing with sign language. We would like to prepare a proper development path, because I and my team don't know sign, and we want to do a good job and respect the community". Unfortunately there's no definite timeframe on that at the moment, "All in good time. Our users will know about it soon" he added. 

Mat came up with the idea because of his love of Hip-Hop music which often contains hand signals and gestures and he says his dream “is to create software and electronics connecting the world of fashion and tech”. There's a short animated video that shows what the app looks like and how you can use the app:

The app is available for iPhones and Android devices but also soon to be release for the Apple Watch that we featured recently. Currently on Apple Watches you are unable to type to respond to messages and can only choose from a list of pre-made responses, however with this app working on an Apple Watch and the ability to use your custom signs – you can very easily have a more varied conversation from your watch than previously possible. Mat confirmed for us that the Apple Watch version will be released soon then he'll be looking at also bringing this software to Android Wear (watches) when the Apple version is finished.

Finally we asked Mat if there was anything more he wanted to add and he said "Keep your fingers crossed for me ;) I would like to make the coolest tool I can for sending signs and gestures. Not just for Deaf people, but for everyone!" Sounds like a great plan to us - very best of luck with it Mat and remember to send us a 'high Five' from time to time.

If you'd like to give it a try you can find the free app available for download on iTunes for Apple devices or the Play Store for Android devices.

Article by SL First Tech Team

posted in Technology / Communication Aids

21st May 2015