A team of 7 university students from the Paraíso campus of the University of Costa Rica (UCR) developed the prototype of an app -called Argot- that translates the Costa Rican Sign Language (Lesco), used by deaf people.

They were the general winners of the Expoinnova fair, an entrepreneurship competition that takes place every year at the institution. In addition, they also won the category of social responsibility.

The event, organized by the School of Business Administration of the university, was held last July 12th-13th at the Rodrigo Facio headquarters, in San Pedro.

The team was made up of Isaac Barrantes Sánchez, Daniela Cerdas Sanabria, Valeria Gómez Brenes, Nicole Hernández Rojas, Daniela Meneses Rodríguez, Jean Carlos Romero Martínez and Irene Varela Miranda. They had the support of their teacher, Juan Carlos Ubilla, and all are 4th-year students of the Business Management career.

How does it work?

Through the smartphone camera, the app recognizes the signs made by the deaf person with their hands and is translated into the written language (in Spanish) in real time. Also, the opposite could be done; the user can write words and generate the sign in Lesco by means of an avatar (an animated figure).

The stand of the Argot App in Expoinnova 2018

Daniela Meneses, one of the young people who make up the work team, explained that they intend that the app also have a premium option (paid) so that deaf people teach those interested to learn Lesco.

This would be an alternative to generate employment for the deaf population, which along with other people with disabilities, faces higher unemployment rates. The motivation of the project was to generate an inclusive communication, without discriminating against anyone, and everyone can learn Lesco.

Additionally, the students received US$ 1,500 and part of that money will be used in the development of this app for the deaf community in Costa Rica.