Kiwi sign language game a world first

In a world first, a Kiwi innovator is using the world of gaming to teach kids sign language.

Adele Hauwai is currently developing the digital learning tool which uses a computer, a camera and hand gestures.

"What can stimulate everyone to learn sign language in a fun way?" she asks.

"So this is where the idea came, of educating kids sign language through the means of games."

Ms Hauwai has been learning and teaching sign language for 30 years, and decided now was the time to capitalise on the rise of gaming.

"Especially since technology has come along literacy has gone down, I've been hearing a lot of feedback from teachers and from parents," she says.

"So we are trying to use the means of technology to educate."

It works like this. Your character walks through the game, and needs to take a drink. A clue pops up, and shows you the sign.

You do it while a camera reads your gesture - and if it's right, you move through to the next stage.

Parent Betty Holdaway says it's a great initiative.

"It keeps it fun, and it keeps it entertaining and gives them excitement," she says.

"And you know something that they can use in real life."

Right now the game is just a prototype, but Ms Hauwai is aiming to launch the full version at the end of the year.

She says it'll have multiple levels, be more advanced, and will be translated into other sign languages.

And she's already been overwhelmed with interest.

"I've already got waiting lists of orders... hundreds of orders."

The game will be sold to schools, and parents will be able to download it or buy in stores.

There's even talk of developing versions compatible with Playstation and Xbox.

Ms Hauwai says the game is for everyone, and not just those with hearing or learning difficulties.