Samsung's Wemogee App Allows People With Language Disorder To Talk Through Emojis
Emojis have grown a lot as a modern form of language. But at first, the idea of using them seemed silly. After our civilization's continued refinements in the complex system and art of language, we're back to communicating via modern-day hieroglyphs — what emojis essentially are like.
Yet, the little blobs of icons and symbols proved far more interesting to play around with, which is most especially true on Twitter. The site's 140-character limit was a pain, but emojis gave a way to combat that. It lets users congest ideas into a teensy icon on your screen, its context as clear — perhaps even cleaner — than its worded counterparts.
Thus, emojis could be powerful communication tools. Samsung's Italian subsidiary, Samsung Electronics Italia, knows that firsthand. So, along with speech therapist Francesca Polini, it created a new app called Wemogee.
Wemogee: An App That Helps Those With Aphasia To Communicate Better
What does Wemogee do, and how does it differ from your standard emoji keyboard? Well, Wemogee is a league of its own in terms of the communication tools it offers. The app is able to replace text phrases with a combination of different emojis. It can be used either as a messaging app or a tool for face-to-face interactions.
The app supports both English and Italian, and will launch on Android on April 28. An iOS version of Wemogee is also planned.
What Is Aphasia?
While the notion of translating phrases into emoji is a fun concept, the app serves a deeper purpose. Its aim is to help people suffering from aphasia, a complex neurological disorder that affects the ability of individuals to understand, express, or formulate language. One of the most common causes of the disorder is experiencing a stroke, although traumatic brain injuries and neurodegenerative diseases may also result in aphasia.
Many people suffering from the disorder find it best to gesticulate, draw, or use pictures to express themselves and communicate. Wemogee is designed to offer them a tool that'll let them do exactly that.
The app is based on a library of over 140 phrases. A team of speech therapists listed the most common phrases and defined them as informed by basic needs and emotions. The phrases are sorted into six main categories.
The app is simple to use. Samsung says that the final user interface was designed around the needs of the recipient. Using just a single button, the user can start a conversation or reply to one, avoiding an interface that might "overstress the ideational area of the aphasic's brain." Samsung also offers a system of suggested answers to specific messages, to make the communication process even easier.
"Through the new Wemogee communication tool, Samsung hopes to continue to enhance the way all people interact with the ones they love," according to Samsung.
While those against emoji may posit that it dumbs down communication, it actually enlivens conversations. With emojis, people can sculpt finer means of expressing oneself, and at the very end of it all, it doesn't "dumb down" anything. It's just another medium for getting one's point across.