Elisa used to share everything with her aunt, Gemma.
But one day, an aneurysm gave Gemma aphasia, a disorder that affects more than 2 million Americans and their ability to speak, read, or understand language. Almost overnight, their way of communicating ground to a halt.
Their story is featured in a new Samsung ad. Their frustration and isolation is heart-wrenching.
While aphasia might make speaking and reading difficult, it doesn't affect a person's ability to recognize symbols or read faces. Including, it turns out, little yellow emoji smiley faces.
Here's where Samsung comes in. The company's Italian team has created an emoji-based, free chat app to help people with aphasia and other language disorders.
The app, called Wemogee, functions as a text-to-emoji translator. It’s programmed with a library of more than 140 phrases. Text messages selected by one party get automatically translated to emojis and vice-versa.
Having standardized phrases is also neat because it might help save someone like Elise from having to hunt for the perfect emoji. It's all already in there. No misunderstandings.
Elise and Gemma might not be able to chat the same way they used to, but this idea could help make things easier. And while people with aphasia and other speech disorders might only make up a subset of our population, it's really cool to see a communications company setting out to make sure everyone has a voice.
See more of Elise and Gemma and the app in action in the video below.