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July 9, 2012

Ukrainian Students Create Gloves That Translate Sign Language Into Speech




 Sensing
Ukrainian developers, EnableTalk have created sensing gloves that  automatically translate sign language into spoken words with the aide of a text-to-speech engine.
This year's Microsoft’s Imagine Cup in Sydney, has produced a finalist project called EnableTalk by the Ukrainian team QuadSquad.  The gloves automatically translate sign language into spoken words with the aide of a text-to-speech engine.

Worldwide, there are currently about 40 million deaf, mute and deaf-mute people and many of them use sign language to communicate.  The problem is, there are very few people who actually understand sign language.

EnableTalk has created  gloves fitted with flex sensors, touch sensors, gyroscopes and accelerometers (as well as some solar cells to increase battery life) in a number of prototypes and tested them with sign language-users in the Ukraine. The idea for the project, said team member Osika Maxim, came from interacting with hearing-impaired athletes at the groups’ school.

The few existing projects that come close to what EnableTalk is proposing generally cost around $1,200 and usually have fewer sensors, use wired connections and don’t come with an integrated software solution. EnableTalk, on the other hand, says that the hardware for its prototypes costs somewhere around $75 per device.

Another feature that makes this project so interesting is that users can teach the system new gestures and modify those that the team plans to ship in a library of standard gestures. Given the high degree of variation among sign languages, which also has regional dialects just like spoken language, this will be a welcome feature for users.

It will be interesting if the algorithms developed by EnableTalk will be compatible with 3D scanning systems like Kinect or Leap Motion's new system. That would provide a gloves-free interaction for the user. For the time being, the gloves look to be a great enabler for the hearing impaired.




SOURCE  Tech Crunch

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