Hip-hop fan Mateusz Mach invested six months of his life to create a fun, quirky messaging app that will let him and his friends send each other customized hand signals – similar to the ones that rappers throw around – to inform each other about their locations. He aimed to interact with his friends using commonly accepted translations for every sign.
The 17-year-old Polish entrepreneur worked with two other contract coders, with the funding provided by a local investor, to release “Five” for Android, iPhone, and Apple Watch users. Although he probably hoped for his app to attract young-adult users, the feedback he received was from a completely different – and an unexpected – group of Android and Apple Watch users.
As it turns out, the app meant for private and easy conversation became a real hit among deaf people who consider it a great engine for communicating in International Sign Language.
Mach told Business Insider that he's heard from deaf users who are using it to quickly converse in a way that makes sense to them. Also, hand gesture lets one communicate more fluently without an onlooker being able to guess what they're saying.
The application is also pretty easy to use. Once downloaded, the user may choose a sign from the built-in signs or can create their own, using different options and combinations.
Now, the teen is building an ISL dictionary into the Five app, which will let users quickly select words and their equivalents. If it all works out, Mach is open to the idea of turning his app into a more complete ISL translator. Though he hopes he’ll make some money out of it.
However, for now, the 17-year-old is splitting his time between working on the app and studying at an International Baccalaureate school.