Read about such projects with pleasure. I love when technology helps us really fight exclusion, which is why I couldn’t pass by this topic indifferently. A group of researchers from UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) presented a special glove that can translate sign language into speech and writing on our smartphone, which is a really big achievement.
Sign language cannot be translated 1: 1 into speech. There is a different syntax and grammar, a different understanding of individual words or phrases. In addition, there is a problem with proper analysis of the position of the hands, fingers, understanding movement, and sometimes even the need to consider facial expressions. This is a really big challenge. Well, to the point.
What does the system provide?
The system is able to interpret 660 characters from American Sign Language (yes, each country has its own) in real time. Efficiency stands at an impressive level of 98.63%.
Why is it worth writing about it? Because it is something that can realistically come into use and remove the barrier that separates hearing people and those who have lost their hearing for various reasons. In addition, it can help you learn the language and who knows can increase the percentage of people who are able to communicate in this way.
How it’s working?
The glove is equipped with flexible sensors that are made of yarn sensitive to electrical impulses that run through the fingers. The pulses are collected and led to a special plate placed on the top of the palm. Its size is close to a quarter of a dollar. The whole communicates wirelessly with our smartphone.
The signal is received by the application and converted to text in real time at a rate of 60 characters per minute.
That is why – colloquially speaking – I am excited about this invention. This is not another repackaged, uncomfortable prototype that proves that one day it will be better. This type of solution can actually be used today. They can be properly packaged so that it is not embarrassing or embarrassing for the person who will wear such a glove. It just makes sense.
And now the best. The cost of producing such a glove in current academic conditions is about $ 50. This amount will fall in the case of mass production, and this in turn will make the product will not be something that only wealthy citizens can afford.
When the implementation?
Calmer now, without emotions. Yes, the prototype looks promising, has great effectiveness, has an affordable price and is not coarse, but it’s still a prototype. The team led by Professor Jun Chen indicates that it needs to be refined.
First of all, it must run faster and have a richer character base. These are absolutely necessary elements for the entire system to be fully practical. Secondly, scientists must work closely with the deaf community, which the system has not impressed so much. They point out that communication tools already exist and scientists should focus more on building tools with and for users.
The project will definitely be in the center of my interest and I will inform you about new products.
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