Junto Ohki

2016 Young Laureate, Applied Technology
Japan, Born 1987


Project Goal

Expand a crowdsourced, online sign language dictionary 

Location: Japan

“It’s not that deaf people are less skilled. Society makes them disabled because society is only for hearing people. I want to change that.”

The world’s 70 million deaf people may one day converse together freely, thanks to the vision of a young Japanese researcher and entrepreneur. Though not deaf himself, Junto Ohki was entranced by sign language as a student and became a qualified interpreter. Realizing the world’s deaf were divided by 126 different sign languages and that these lacked a dictionary to translate between them, he has started to build one, using crowdsourcing to obtain signs worldwide and a special keyboard to input them. Called SLinto, the dictionary will soon hold 10,000 signs, enabling sign languages to evolve richer vocabularies and deaf people to access social and business services more easily. It is being tested in Japan, the United States and India.

70 million

People worldwide who use sign languages.


Sign languages in the world, each with its own grammar and vocabulary.

Other 2016 Young Laureates