Thomas Pryor and Navid Azodi, two undergraduates from the University of Washington, have developed a device which can translate sign language to normal English words. Their team competed in the ‘2016 Lemelson-MIT Use It’ undergraduate category and beat 70 colleges and universities to win a $10,000 prize.
How the new invention is going to help with Sign Language?
Sign Language is an incredible thing for those who cannot hear since their birth or those who have verbal issues. While the disabled people can learn to use it, not many people understand the language that’s specifically developed for non-verbal communication. The device caters to that problem by translating everything for those who do not understand sign language.
The device has been named SignAloud. It comprises of two gloves which are embedded with multitude of sensors. These sensors are used to detect signs and gestures. The data is then wirelessly transferred to a computer via Bluetooth.
The computer has been programmed to store, analyze and decide the retrieved hand gesture data. Once the information has been processed, which takes a very small amount of time, the computer searches for the matching sign language data and the corresponding word (or words) are output through the speaker.
While similar prototypes have been developed before, Pryor says “Our gloves are lightweight, compact and worn on the hands, but ergonomic enough as an everyday accessory.” The prototype can be developed into a product with a built-in CPU making it possible to easily use the device everywhere.
The Implications are Huge
The device could go beyond the use of disabled people. It could end up being used for virtual reality in the future or any other field which requires gesture control. If the device does manage to become a finished product, it could become a household name.
The developers plan to give the verbally challenged people, 70 million around the world, a new chance to progress.
Here is a video demo of the prototype which won the award: