Writing by hand may be a great cognitive boost, according to researchers, but virtual typing is the preferred method of many. The younger generations in particular use their phones multiple times per day to send messages throughout many platforms and social networks.
In those interactions, the use of emoji is an undeniable part of life. Some might say that emoji are detrimental to the “proper” use of language. Others would argue that emoji are simply another step in its evolution and that they might be able to convey additional meaning and nuance in an otherwise mundane piece of text.
Regardless of which camp you fall in with, it is worth noting that emoji has actually been used in many useful contexts already. A Swedish non-profit developed an emoji app to make it easier for children to communicate about abuse. Researchers have used emoji as a visual-based research method in an effort to facilitate children’s understandings of well-being.
Now, a new app is promising to help people with aphasia communicate more effectively. Samsung Wemogee was created by the electronic giant’s Italian subsidiary in partnership with a team of speech therapists.
Wemogee acts by allowing people with aphasia to use emoji combinations instead of plain-text sentences. Those combinations then get translated into actual text for the intended recipient, and vice versa.
According to Samsung, the app currently includes a library of more than 140 phrases which are divided into several categories such as everyday life, feelings, and help. Francesca Polini, one of the speech therapists who aided in the development of the app, explained that aphasic patients can understand emoji better “because they depict all aspects of emotions”.
Aphasia affects millions of people worldwide and most often comes about as the result of a brain injury or a stroke, though it can happen via other means as well. Damage to Broca’s or Wernicke’s areas in the brain are most often associated with different types of aphasia.
Aphasia is evidenced by an inability to both produce and comprehend language, though there are numerous variations of the disorder with varying symptoms and severity levels. Though it is not always permanent, the disorder can indeed persist throughout a patient’s lifetime.
Samsung Wemogee is certainly an interesting application and one of the most unique uses of emoji we have seen yet. Simple but effective uses of technology are always welcome, particularly if they can help people with one of the strongest human needs: social communication.
Samsung Wemogee will be available on April 28th.