VIKA Books & BDH Immersive
An augmented reality (AR) storybook that uses a combination of smartphones and printed products to teach British Sign Language (BSL) to the hearing parents of deaf and hearing children. By combining cutting edge technologies: augmented reality, video and audio with simple narratives, Baby BSL is an interactive illustrated children’s pop-up storybook and communications aid. Baby BSL addresses the lack of intuitive teaching assets for hearing families and inspires and empowers parents to teach themselves to sign at home.
Watch the Baby BSL intro video
Install Baby BSL for Android
This link will download the APK file. Allow your phone to trust the source for this app only. The APK will be saved in your Downloads folder.
Install Baby BSL for iPhone
Follow this link for Apple's instructions on how to install TestFlight, Apple’s prototype testing software.
If you have any problems downloading or installing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanking you for your patience!
Download the Baby BSL booklet
Print this PDF double sided on any A4 printer. Follow the instructions to create our 12pp booklet. You need this booklet to augment the illustrations and signs in the app.
Why use Baby BSL?
Baby BSL unlocks the communication barrier experienced by children before they can make themselves understood vocally. This barrier is frequently cited as a cause of 'the Terrible Twos' as the child develops independent thoughts and wishes but cannot express them. 'Signing' bridges the gap, helping children communicate complex concepts earlier. A deaf child can sign up to 90 words by the age of 1. Learning Baby BSL will help you understand your child's thoughts and needs before they are able to speak. Be surprised and amazed at how much you enjoy learning together!
How to scan pages and trigger AR
1. Launch the Baby BSL app. Allow the app to access your camera.
2. Place the book on a flat surface, like a table.
3. Once the camera screen is showing, hold your phone over the book so that a whole drawing is visible. Make sure you have good lighting.
4. Scanning pages in this way will either trigger AR animations or videos demonstrating that sign in BSL.
5. To stop the AR, or wake-up a new one, simply move your phone away from that page and over a new one.
360 degree AR
Rotate the book to see the animation in 360 degrees, for example, to see the back of the bird.
About Baby BSL Prototype V1
V1 is a quick-fire prototype that, when used together with our booklet, demonstrates signs and animations for four augmented words: Flower, Ball, Banana and Bird. Your feedback is greatly valued. Our aim is to adjust designs and catch any errors before we launch V2 in February. V2 will contain 12-20 signs and will update V1.
User-testing duration and goals
We want the design to be as compatible with your everyday as possible, whilst being fun and playful at the same time. Try to use the signs for at least a couple of weeks, but the longer the better. Baby may not sign back as quickly as you’d like, but be assured that they are watching!
How to sign with your baby
1. Use the BSL sign whenever you say that word. It will soon feel natural and become habit.
2. Make eye contact with your baby each time you sign and say the word.
3. Babies love faces. They like to watch and learn by looking at you.
4. Try repeating words. This can help with remembering. E.g., 'Where is the ball?' 'Is the ball yellow?'
5. Talk in a singsong voice. This teaches them the natural rhythms and flow of language.
6. Give your baby choices: 'Would you like to see the banana OR the flower?' This helps increase vocabulary and encourages your baby to reply.
7. Use signs as often as possible in your everyday. Practice and playful repetition is key!
8. Don't be disheartened if baby takes time to sign back. They watch everything and understand long before they can copy.
9. Have fun!
Heartfelt thanks goes to you, our Baby BSL user-testers! We are very grateful for the time and effort you are taking to use this product to teach your child Baby BSL. We look forward to your feedback and aim to implement as many suggestions, and correct as many errors, as possible. Thank you for your patience and enthusiasm. You and your child will be signing together soon!
VIKA are also grateful to the members of the deaf community, especially Elmfield School for the Deaf, for their kind advice and guidance in developing Baby BSL.
The app is taking a while to load. You will see a yellow screen for a while. Apologies!