talking hands' Success Story: The potential of the startup was quickly recognised by the CONTENTshift jury – and brought the founders into the final round of the accelerator 2021, where they could benefit from the intensive coaching and contacts of the book industry experts. Media reports (including Börsenblatt) and their appearance at the Frankfurt Book Fair brought them great attention in the book industry. Subsequently, further opportunities opened up for the startup: they took part in "Höhle der Löwen" (the German Version of "Shark Tank"), were among the finalists of the EMOTION.Award and entered into a cooperation with Kao, the company behind the hair care brand Guhl.
Name: Talking Hands
My startup in a nutshell: We turn sign language into flipbooks to make learning sign language interactive and playful for children with and without disabilities, so that inclusion and communication can be promoted in daycare centres and schools.
Website: Talking Hands
Linkedin: Talking Hands Flipbooks
Our team: Maria Möller, Laura Mohn
Our founding history:
We are Laura Mohn and Maria Möller, the founders of talking hands. We are 26 and 27 years old, born in Frankfurt and studied communication design together. In October 2020, we founded talking hands flipbooks UG and are working full-time to realise our vision of an inclusive society.
Laura's sister, Jeanne-Marie, is the inspiration for talking hands. She has Down syndrome and so we know how disheartening it can be not to be understood by the world and to feel excluded. Unfortunately, inclusion is not yet a common practice in many areas, and dealing with people with disabilities is still unfamiliar to many.
For this very reason, it is important to teach children about inclusion as a way of life from the very beginning. Through talking hands, we want to facilitate and simplify communication between children with and without disabilities so that no one has to grow up with feelings of isolation and lack of understanding.
This is how our business idea transforms the content industry: :
The aim of "talking hands" is to strengthen the inclusion of children with Down syndrome and hearing and speech impairments. For this purpose, we have turned signs into flipbooks so that children with and without disabilities can easily learn to sign and thus communicate. The flip book is the precursor of film, tells little stories and shows short movements. "Talking Hands" takes up this old medium in a new way and relies on the main feature of the flip book: Showing movement, respectively bringing pictures to life with one's own thumb. Thanks to the flipbooks, the sequence of gestures can be easily understood and imitated. Learning the signs together also promotes the inclusion of the children and facilitates communication. In addition, the children's motor skills are trained and strengthened through the haptics of turning the pages of the flipbooks.
Children with disabilities are often excluded because communication is more difficult, they cannot express their feelings and thoughts and find it difficult to connect. This applies to all areas in life: Family, educational institutions and jobs. "talking hands" helps to prevent the isolation of these children by teaching sign language in a playful way to all people, whether with or without disabilities. Article three of the Basic Law states that people with disabilities must not be disadvantaged. So we start directly in early childhood to pave the way for an equal life, because an efficient learning method for sign language sets the foundation for an inclusive society.
Our flipbooks are valuable learning materials, but above all they are books. We are really looking forward to working with experts from the book and publishing industry to find ways to successfully place talking hands in the education system and make them widely available. The mentoring and coaching by Deepa Gautam-Nigge, Olaf Carstens, Prof. Dr. Harald Henzler and Prof. Dr. Okke Schlüter will help us to sharpen our business model, expand our network and strengthen the foundation of talking hands. Maria Möller