It seems like emoji has become a language of its own, but each symbol is really a stand-in for a wide array of thoughts and emotions. This shorthand can be useful for someone who struggles to digest written words -- like those with aphasia, a language disorder that impedes people's ability to read, talk and write. To help this group, Samsung developed Wemogee, a chat app that translates written phrases into emoji bursts to enable fluid conversation.
For neurotypical users, the app changes words into a series of emojis: "How are you?" becomes a smiley face, an "okay" hand gesture and a question mark. Those with aphasia go the other way, selecting groups of emoji symbols that convey the statement they're trying to make, which gets translated into words. While Weemogee is obviously intended for typical digital chatting, it's also helpful for in-person conversations: Passing a device back and forth might be cumbersome, but unlocking communication for those who struggle with words and diction is worth the inconvenience.
Samsung worked with professors and neursurgeons from the University of Milan to refine the emoji selection and translation, narrowing the choices down to 140 key phrases. The app is available now on Google Play, with iOS and Samsung Galaxy App versions coming soon.