Snapchat AR unveils at Riyadh Book Fair first machine learning lens for the deaf community
Posted on 2023 Oct,05

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Snapchat (Snap Inc), in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has unveiled a cutting-edge augmented reality (AR) lens designed to revolutionize the interactive experiences of the deaf community. 

The highly-anticipated launch took place on Thursday, September 28, at the prestigious Riyadh International Book Fair 2023, a significant event that draws massive crowds of literature enthusiasts.

This year's Book Fair, scheduled from September 28th until October 7th, is being hosted at the sprawling campus of King Saud University in Riyadh.

This groundbreaking AR lens marks a historic leap, as it becomes the very first Arabic sign language lens ever introduced in the Middle East and North Africa region. 

The collaboration between Snapchat and the Ministry of Culture is dedicated to fostering inclusivity and technological advancement, underlining the importance of accessibility for all individuals, including those with hearing impairments marking a milestone in interactive education.

The Riyadh International Book Fair 2023, known for its extensive visitor turnout, has chosen to embrace cutting-edge technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the overall fair experience for its estimated one million attendees.

Snapchat, renowned for its AR experiences, is introducing features to the Riyadh Book Fair, The lens utilizes Machine Learning technology, enabling the camera to accurately identify and interpret 28 distinct hand gestures from the Arabic Alphabet used in Arabic Sign Language demonstrating how AR can enhance cultural events and engage diverse audiences.

The event will showcase a cutting-edge 3D Technology display, immersing attendees in an interactive experience where a book springs to life through the front selfie camera. With each tap, inspirational quotes on reading will be unveiled, offering a unique and engaging journey.

Additionally, the event will introduce a specially designed lens experience for children, aimed at promoting a love for reading. This enchanting experience will transport users inside a hot air balloon crafted in the shape of a book, adorned with the message "Reading Uplifts You" and the iconic branding of the Riyadh Book Fair.

Mohammed Hasan Alwan, CEO of The Literature, Publishing & Translation Commission stated, "We are proud of the fruitful partnership with Snapchat in various events held in the Kingdom. This year's participation in the Book Fair is unique and innovative, as we are launching special services for the deaf community. We look forward to the impressive results of the augmented reality experiences at the exhibition, which align with our mission to promote cultural exchange and make literature more accessible to different segments of society through the positive impact on visitors."

Regional Business Lead for KSA Market at Snap Inc. Abdulla Alhammadi, emphasized the importance of the use of AR and said: "We believe AR is the next technological advancement that will impact industries. Our AR is powered by AI to make it more creative and useful. Companies and brands that adopt a winning AR strategy now will have a competitive advantage." 83% of consumers say they're interested in AR for learning and AR can provide powerful opportunities to enhance learning, from educational guides to recipes and beyond. This is the greatest untapped opportunity for brands to become early adopters, further highlights the growing interest in AR for educational purposes.

With 250 million people using AR technology daily on Snapchat globally, this collaboration demonstrates the transformative potential of AR in cultural events. Snapchat's AR lenses are a source of entertainment and engagement for over 85% of its users in Saudi Arabia. Nearly 60% of Saudi Arabia's Monthly Active Users on Snapchat are aged 25 or older, showcasing the platform's diverse and inclusive audience.

The Riyadh International Book Fair, which is held under the slogan "An Inspiring Destination," attracts more than 1800 publishing houses from 32 countries, in addition to celebrating Saudi literature and its influence, indicating the potential for alignment between technology and culture to serve humanity.