Two second-year university students in the US have developed a pair of gloves that can translate American sign language (ASL) into speech and text. This is the step in the right direction for empowering the deaf community to communicate normally.
The signs and motion of hands is converted into both visual words and sound. The founders are two second year university students in the US, Navid Azodi and Thomas Pryor. The innovation is deep rooted in the life of Azodi.
“Until I was seven years old I didn’t speak, so for the first years of my life I used non-verbal communication. I was sharing that with Thomas, and alongside our interest in invention and problem solving … somehow this idea of the gloves came to be,” he told World News.
The sensors in the glove record the hand gestures and transmits data to a central computer which interprets the signs and converts it into meaningful words.
According to Azodi, creating this device was very hard. The toughest task of this innovation was converting the signs into verbal English.
“The question is: how do you take a physical language that is so dynamic and beautiful, such as ASL, and turn it into a verbal language?” Mr Azodi said.
“We found that the syntax and the nuances of such a beautiful language like ASL, that was very difficult [to translate].
“We don’t have the entire ASL vocabulary — there’s no way we could categorise all that. But we have a strong foundation to build upon that and really it’s going in that direction.”
MIT awarded the students with 10,000 USD.
Mr Azodi said “this money would enable the pair to refine the technology further, opening up the possibility of adapting SignAloud technology to understand other sign languages, such as AUSLAN.’
“There are so many types of sign language and obviously we focused on ASL … we’re not going to try make it a one-language-fits-all, because that’s not what this is. However, the general idea can pretty easily be applied to different [languages],” he said.
“It’s going to take some time to build a database and really apply it to AUSLAN or other international sign languages, however it is possible.”
“And I think that just goes to show the potential for a device like this. We’re in it because access to communication is a fundamental human right and it’s something that Thomas and I truly believe in. And we don’t want to capitalise and sell on that, we want to actually make it a benefit to society.”
Gloves designed to ‘build bridges, break down barriers’ for Deaf Community.
With the 21st century revolution on full swing- a cause as noble as this is bound to add a divine touch to the product itself.