Two undergraduate students have invented a pair of gloves that convert sign language to speech in real time.
Besides being mind-blowingly cool, the innovative technology helps bridge the communication gap between people who are deaf and those who don't know how to sign. It functions via sensors on the hand and wrist that detect movement and hand position. This information is then sent via Bluetooth to a computer where individual signs are recognised and converted into speech - all in a matter of seconds.
It only works in US sign language at this stage, but it's clear that Sign Aloud, as it's called, still has plenty of room to expand.
The World Health Organisation estimates there are 360 million people worldwide with disabling hearing loss, 32 million of which are children.
These days technology can make lives eaven easier for those of us who have to rely on sign language, hearing aids, and cochlear implants. Here are a few of the latest projects we love.
This app is yet to come on the market, but once its creators finish their testing period, it could revolutionise communication between deaf and hearing people in group situations.
The smartphone app is designed to recognise different voices and transcribe what each person is saying in separate speech bubbles in real time.
I See What You Say
Close to one in three people above the age of 65 are affected by hearing loss, and many of them don’t know sign language. I See What You Say is particularly useful for such people, as it coverts speech to text.
It works by pairing a hearing person’s smartphone to a wearable device (a smart watch or a small interface attached to a chain around the neck), and as words are spoken into the smartphone, they appear as text on the device.
Similar to the gloves, UNI uses a tablet that registers signs and converts them into spoken words. Multiple cameras on the interface pick up the hand signals and repeat them in real time on the screen to enable the user to see if it has registered correctly.
It also listens and converts speech into text to facilitate two-way communication.
Just In Sign
While it may not help the deaf in real time, JustInSign is a mobile app that teaches you international sign language.
Touted as “the fastest way to learn sign language online” it’s an educational platform that allows you to go at your own pace and test your knowledge along the way.