The genesis of the big idea!
Our journey has been an exhilarating one, but the story behind the idea that gave birth to Signer.AI is equally interesting!
It all started in 2015, when our founder Ankit was invited as a Youth Ikon to represent India at the Conference of State Parties – United Nations global Disability Conclave. This conference is held annually in New York to track the progress on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. During his stay, Ankit, who is blind, was scheduled to share a room with a deaf person. It was a classic comedy of errors where both roommates were unable to communicate with each other. Ankit, being blind, was unable to see what his roommate signed, and on the other hand, his roommate was unable to hear what Ankit spoke.
Over the next week, Ankit and his roommate worked on several hacks to communicate with each other, some worked, and a few did not. As they returned, Ankit’s curiosity peaked and he decided to explore this space to find a potential solution. He conceptualized the idea of an app that could convert any speech into sign language in real-time, to help people overcome communication barriers.
In 2018, Ankit, along with his non-profit organization, Friends for Inclusion, first collaborated with the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Bengaluru to research the development of a sign language translator. The team succeeded in building a working prototype.
Since 2020, Ankit decided to bootstrap the development of the solution with the support of friends, family, and some corporate partners. As the development progressed, many more people joined Ankit’s mission and supported the development of the solution. After five years of relentless commitment, Ankit and his team are now ready with SIGNER.AI. In 2022, Ankit and his wife, Kanika, set up Incluistic Private Limited to take this forward and make SIGNER.AI a reality for people all over the world.