New High-Tech Glove Can Translate Sign Language into Speechadmin
Scientists at UCLA have developed a glove that translates sign language into speech in real-time, “potentially allowing deaf people to communicate directly with anyone, without the need for a translator,” CNN reports.
The system includes a pair of gloves that contain sensors that run along the fingers and thumb to identify each word, phrase or letter as it is made in American Sign Language (ASL). The device then turns the finger movements into electrical signals which are sent wirelessly to a smartphone that translates them into spoken words at the rate of about one word per second. The researchers also added adhesive sensors to testers’ faces between the users eyebrows and on one side of their mouths, in order to capture the facial expressions that are a part of ASL.
“Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them,” lead researcher Jun Chen said in a statement. “In addition, we hope it can help more people learn sign language themselves.”
When testing the device, the researchers worked with four people who are deaf and use ASL (at this time, the glove does not translate British Sign Language, the other dominant sign language in the English-speaking world). The wearers repeated each hand gesture 15 times. A custom machine-learning algorithm turned these gestures into the letters, numbers and words they represented. The system recognized 660 signs, including each letter of the alphabet and number 0-9.
UCLA has filed for a patent on the technology. Read the full report published in the journal Nature Electronics.