A new glove developed at the University of California, San Diego, can convert the 26 letters of American Sign Language (ASL) into text on a smartphone or computer screen. "For thousands of people in the UK, sign language is their first language," says Jesal Vishnuram, the technology research manager at the charity Action on Hearing Loss. In the UK, someone who is deaf is entitled to a sign language translator at work or when visiting a hospital, but at a train station, for example, it can be incredibly difficult to communicate with people who don't sign. The flexible sensors mean that you hardly notice that you are wearing the glove, says Timothy O'Connor who is working on the technology at the University of California, San Diego.
Machine translation systems that convert sign language into text and back again are helping people who are deaf or have difficulty hearing to communicate with those who cannot sign. A sign language user can approach a bank teller and sign to the KinTrans camera that they'd like assistance, for example. KinTrans's machine learning algorithm translates each sign as it is made and then a separate algorithm turns those signs into a sentence that makes grammatical sense. KinTrans founder Mohamed Elwazer says his system can already recognise thousands of signs in both American and Arabic sign language with 98 per cent accuracy.
For years scientists have worked to find a way to make it easier for deaf and hearing impaired people to communicate. And now it is hoped that a new intelligent system could be about to transform their lives. Researchers have used image recognition to translate sign language into'readable language' and while it is early days, the tool could one day be used on smartphones. Researchers have used image recognition to translate sign language (pictured) into'readable language' and while it is early days, the tool could one day be used on smartphones Scientists from Malaysia and New Zealand came up with the Automatic Sign Language Translator (ASLT), which can capture, interpret and translate sign language. It has been tested on gestures and signs representing both isolated words and continuous sentences in Malaysian sign language, with what they claim is a high degree of recognition accuracy and speed.
For people living in a world without sound, sign language can make sure their points of view are heard. But outside of the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, this gesture-based language can lose its meaning. Now a pair of entrepreneurial technology students in the US has designed a pair of gloves to break down the communication barriers, by translating hand gestures into speech. US inventors have designed a pair of gloves, called'SignAloud', which translate the gestures of sign language to spoken English. The gloves (pictured) use embedded sensors to monitor the position and movement of the user's hands, while a central computer analyses the data and converts gestures to speech Called'SignAloud', the gloves use embedded sensors to monitor the position and movement of the user's hands.