Scientists have developed a glove that translates sign language into speech in real time, potentially allowing deaf people to communicate directly with anyone, without the need for an interpreter.
The handheld device contains sensors that run along the four fingers and thumb to identify each word, phrase, or letter as it is done in American Sign Language.
Those signals are sent wirelessly to a smartphone, which is translated into spoken words at the rate of one word per second.
Scientists at UCLA, where the project was developed, believe that the innovation could allow easier communication for deaf people. Our hope is that this will open up an easy way for people using sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without the need for someone else to translate for them, “said lead researcher Jun Chen.
Also, we hope it can help more people learn sign language for themselves, I added.The research was published in the journal Nature Electronics.
An estimated 100,000 to 1 million people use American Sign Language in the United States.
According to the British Association of the Deaf, this glove does not translate British sign language, another dominant sign language in the English-speaking world, which is used by approximately 151,000 adults in the United Kingdom.
The researchers also added adhesive sensors to people’s faces that are used to test the device, between the eyebrows and on one side of the mouth, to capture facial expressions that are part of American sign language.
Chen said the device is lighter than portable systems developed in previous attempts to create live sign language translation kits.
More than 300 sign languages are used by more than 70 million deaf people worldwide.