Navid Azodi and Thomas Pryor, undergraduates from the University of Washington (UW), have created lightweight gloves that can translate sign language into words. Both kids recently won $10,000 for their innovative design.
They call these gloves “SignAloud.” These gloves have built-in sensors to monitor the position and movement of the user’s hands and deliver the data wirelessly to a computer.
The Computer Converts Gestures to Speech
The computer is designed to store, analyze, and correctly determine the sent hand gesture data. When the computer receives the information, it analyzes hand movements and the computer’s algorithm searches for the right match against a library of gestures. If a hand gesture is a match, then the computer converts it to speech.
Thomas Pryor, who is also enrolled as an astronautics and aeronautics engineer, explained that their product is many times better than already existing sign-to-speech devices and prototypes available on the market. Pryor said, “Our gloves are lightweight, compact and worn on the hands, but ergonomic enough to use as an everyday accessory, similar to hearing aids or contact lenses.”
The primary audience for this device will be the deaf and mute community, together with the people interested in learning and working with American Sign Language.
The designers believe their gloves could also be helpful in other fields as well, like monitoring stroke patients during their rehabilitation, or for gesture control and improved dexterity with virtual reality technology.