Snapchat last week launched a new filter to promote the American Sign Language alphabet. Devised by a team of deaf and hard-of-hearing Snapchat staffers who call themselves the "Deafengers," the ASL Alphabet lens teaches users to fingerspell their name, practice the ASL alphabet and play games that test their sign language fluency.
"Really, there's a lot of potential," Deafenger designer Austin Vaday told NBC News via sign interpreter. "The sky's the limit."
Up to 600,000 people in the US use ASL as their primary form of communication, according to Gallaudet University.
Building on the hand-tracking technology that powered 2021s fingerspelling Lenses, the ASL Alphabet lens was launched in partnership with SignAll, a startup that uses AI to translate sign language in real-time.
"We're constantly working to expand the ways Snapchatters can express themselves and make connections through our Camera," Snapchat said in a release.
"For native signers, in a world where linguistic inequity is prevalent, we believe AR can help evolve the way we communicate," the company added.
The ASL Alphabet lens is available now for Snapchat users on both iOS and Android.