Researchers from UCLA have developed a cheap, high-tech a glove that can translate sign language into written and spoken words on a smartphone, reports Fast Company.
The system works in real time and can interpret 660 American Sign Languages with promising with an accuracy of 98.63%. This could one day be used to teach more people sign language and to help deaf people communicate with users who do not know sign language.
The gloves have stretch sensors made of electrically sensitive yarns that extend on each of the five fingers. The signals travel to a coin-sized plate placed on the back of the glove, which then transmits the wireless signal to the smartphone. The application can convert them to real-time text at speeds up to words per second (60 words per minute). The team also installs sensors that stick to the tester’s faces to record facial expressions that are part of American Sign Language.
Help with learning sign language
The concept is not new, but the prototype of the UCLA glove is more comfortable and far less bulky than other designs, the researchers said. What’s even better, parts cost about $ 50 and the price can drop even more with large productionsaid Assistant Professor Jun Chen for Fast Company UCLA.
It is still a prototype and you need to be faster and understand more characters to be practical. However, after a few more years of development, it would allow deaf people to communicate more easily. “We hope this will open up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with those who don’t know it, and not that they need someone else,” Chen said.
Critics within the deaf community were not so impressed, saying the deaf already have tools to help communicate. “It would be much easier if the technology focused on user-based design,” Gabrielle Hodge, a postdoctoral researcher who is deaf, told CNN. However, it could also serve as a means of education. “We hope this will help more people learn sign language,” Chen said.