Arash Tayebi, co-founder of Kara Technologies, talks to the Lightbulb at Spinoff Business about using AI and digital humans to translate content into sign language.
Watch: In May, the Techweek team interviewed Farmehr Farhour in this Techweek TV session on how technology is changing the lives of people with disabilities.
Kara translates different materials – books, audio, video – into sign language, using artificial intelligence (AI) and hyperrealistic avatars to provide accessibility to deaf people. Tayebi talks about how his experience with Ménière’s disease (an inner ear problem that affects your hearing and balance) provided the inspiration for Kara.
Kara Technologies Co-Founder Arash Tayebi gesturing "I love you" in sign language
"I realised we didn’t have that many deaf students in the engineering department and I wondered why that was. There’s no correlation between being deaf and being smart, so why were there no deaf students at the university? When I talked to the deaf education centres I found out there was a huge gap because we don’t have enough teachers who know sign language in New Zealand. That’s when I thought we could make virtual teachers who knew sign language and were available 24/7. That’s where it all began."