High-Tech Gloves Turn Sign Language Into Speech

Two university students have created a pair of gloves which turn sign language into spoken language.

University of Washington students Navid Azodi and Thomas Pryor won a $10,000 (£6,900) campus prize for the wearable device, which records hand position and movement before transmitting the data wirelessly over Bluetooth to a computer.

Then, algorithms are used to figure out what is being said, in a similar process to that used by Apple's Siri voice assistant.

The pair used a system similar to how neural networks work in artificial intelligence to engineer the gloves to recognise specific sign language movements.

When the system finds a match, it then reads the words aloud.

The gloves could be worn by deaf people, making it quicker and easier for them to communicate verbally simply by using their hands.

Mr Pryor said: "Many of the sign language translation devices already out there are not practical for everyday use. Some use video input, while others have sensors that cover the user's entire arm or body.

"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."

Mr Pryor is studying aeronautics and astronautics engineering, while Mr Azodi is a former NASA intern who is studying business administration.

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