At Huawei, we believe technology should be open and available to all. Regardless of who we are, or where we come from. To make all our lives better.
Our Facing Emotions mobile app embodies this mission. Bringing new technology to the blind and visually-impaired, helping them to ‘see’ emotions through the power of sound.
In the seeing world, a simple smile is something we all take for granted. But for the millions of people unable to see faces and read emotional cues, they are often literally left in the dark.
Now the Facing Emotions app allows everyone to experience the emotions on the faces of people they are speaking to, through the power of AI. So they can hear a smile. And connect better to everyone around them.
Using the powerful camera and AI of our Mate 20 Pro phone, the app translates seven universal human emotions into seven unique sounds.
Through the phone’s camera, the app scans the face of the person the blind person is talking to, identifying their eyes, nose, brows and mouth, along with their position in relation to each other.
TRANSFORMING SENTIMENT TO SOUND
The app uses artificial intelligence to recognise seven universal emotions - anger, fear, disgust, happiness, sadness, surprise and contempt. The blind composer, Tomasz Bilecki, helped us to reimagine these emotions as sounds. Using his unique perspective on the nature of sound to create audio cues that were short, concise and simple to recall.
DESIGNING FOR EVERYDAY LIFE
We developed Facing Emotions in partnership with the Polish Blind Association and the blind community, working with a group of blind testers to shape the final app experience, from its functionality to the colours and sounds.
It was through this collaboration that we learned app users would love a hands-free option. Visually-impaired people often need their hands to hold a cane or to help them navigate. So we joined forces with award-winning designer Janek Kochanski to create a special 3D printed phone holder. His contemporary design merges form with function, helping to make using the Mate 20 Pro and app more intuitive and simpler to use.
Partnering with the blind community has empowered us to understand their challenges and build a technological solution that is uniquely tailored to their needs. A tool, we hope, that can illuminate the darkness and make their daily lives better.