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The story behind "Signtegrate" - the runner-up project of the 4th "Students with Start-up Ideas" Contest by two Amsers

Post by: trangtrang | 31/03/2022 | 420 reads

The 4th "Students with Start-up Ideas" competition was launched by the Ministry of Education and Training since July 2021 for students attending universities, education colleges and middle and high school students nationwide. With nearly 400 selected projects participating, 70 projects made it to the finals. In particular, the "Signtegrate" project, a solution to support communication for the hearing impaired in Vietnam by two Amser Nguyen Tai Minh and Pham Ninh Giang (class 11 Math 2) won the national second prize. Now, let's listen to the very interesting stories of Nguyen Tai Minh and Pham Ninh Giang on the “Signtegrate” application with Ams Wide Web!

Reporter (Rept.): First of all, thank you so much to both of you for accepting our invitation to do an interview. Your communication application for the hearing-impaired has a very unique name, "Signtegrate." Can you tell me the meaning of this name?

Tai Minh: The name "Signtegrate" was created quite accidentally, and we've come up with the name ever since we have got the idea for this app. "Signtegrate" is a combination of two English words "sign" and “integrate,” which are closely related to the app’s usage, and the meaning of the product is to help the hearing impaired integrate into the community through sign language translation.

The two students Nguyen Tai Minh and Pham Ninh Giang

Rept.: “Signtegrate” is a very meaningful software that has tremendous human value. What motivated you to create this product?

Tai Minh: The idea of developing "Signtegrate" originated from a neighbor who had a hearing impairment from an early age. I'm really close to him and I teach him a lot. Throughout the process of contacting and studying together, I observed that he had a lot of difficulties communicating and it affected his confidence and ability to integrate with the community. So when I had the capability and received the support from my teachers and family, I decided to develop the "Signtegrate" app to help the hearing-impaired community in Vietnam.

Ninh Giang: The story of Tai Minh made me very emotional, and with my passion for technology and programming, I did not hesitate to participate in the development of "Signtegrate". I'm looking forward to investing time and effort in a meaningful project like this, and more particularly, it can help the deaf community.

Nguyen Tai Minh and Pham Ninh Giang with teacher Pham Thi Phuong - Head of Science at Hanoi High School - Amsterdam

Rept.: What kind of difficulties did you have during the research and development of "Signtegrate"? At times like that, who helped you two overcome that difficulty?

Tai Minh: For me, the hardest part was the data collection, especially during the pandemic, which made it difficult to find and invite experts to provide data for the application. After that, we were lucky enough to find someone to help us solve this problem. However, if only one person participated in it, it was still not enough because we need more people to replicate the data. Finally, Giang and I learned sign language on our own and went back to work to train models for "Signtegrate". We overcame these barriers thanks to the tremendous support of our family, friends, and teachers.

Ninh Giang: One of the obstacles I've encountered is the application programming. Sometimes programming can cause unavoidable errors; additionally, those mistakes are quite difficult to correct. But thanks to searching the Internet far and wide, I got to solve this problem. Besides, as Tai Minh said, collecting data for model training was really a challenge for us.

Two booths from the Hanoi Department of Education and Training at the Contest

Signtegrate’s introductory booth at the Contest

Rept.: The 4th "Students with Start-up Ideas" Contest is a national competition with many strong competitors. Does that make you feel pressured? Please share your tips on how you overcame the pressure to finish your performance well and get such a high award!

Tai Minh: When we enter a competition on such a large scale, we cannot avoid pressure. The heavy workload, especially during the upcoming competition, made us lack sleep and filled with anxiety. We were able to complete "Signtegrate" thanks to the parents' urging and the teachers' accompanying us. I dare not eat breakfast on the day of the 2nd stage presentation to review the presentation thoroughly. When I gave the presentation to so many people, I thought I would not be able to finish it well, but in the end, all our efforts paid off.

Ninh Giang: When participating in the competition, I felt quite pressured because I was worried that our application would not be as good as other technology products and "Signtegrate" could not convince the judges. Secondly, I do not have much knowledge know much about economics, but I only know about technology. In order to answer the questions given by the judges, I spent a long time practicing. My advice to everyone is “Do not be afraid, walk out of your comfort zone, and do your best for your goals; you will definitely get the results you deserve.”

Nguyen Tai Minh and Pham Ninh Giang at the awards ceremony

Rept.: Winning the national second place in the "Students with Start-up Idea" competition was the first success of "Signtegrate". So what are your plans to develop this product in the future and put it into your daily life, helping many deaf people who still have difficulty communicating?

Tai Minh: "Signtegrate" won second place nationwide is something I am very happy about and proud of. I'm sure we will be able to start a business soon, complete the product, and find investors to release "Signtegrate". In addition, we have successfully connected to doctors and potential investors who are the judges at the competition. I hope that the future plans will go well so that "Signtegrate" can help the hearing-impaired community in Vietnam easily integrate into society.

Ninh Giang: As a person specializing in technology, I want to find more advanced, modern technologies to apply to "Signtegrate" and make the application increasingly convenient and easy to use for the hearing impaired.

Members of the Hanoi delegation at the Memorial Photo Contest with Deputy Director of the Department of Education and Training Tran Luu Hoa

Rept.: Thank you very much for agreeing to participate in the Ams Wide Web interview. I hope you succeed with your plans and launch the "Signtegrate" app soon!

On behalf of the editors of Ams Wide Web, congratulations to Nguyen Tai Minh and Pham Ninh Giang (grade 11 Math 2) on winning the National Second Prize in the "Students with Start-up Ideas" Contest. I hope you will successfully develop the "Signtegrate" application to help the hearing-impaired community in Vietnam and carry out more socially beneficial projects.

JO: Tran Quynh Anh - Literature 2124

Photos: Provided by interviewees

Translator: Ngan Ha - English 2023