A student has created a smart glove that can translate gestures made in sign language into speech or text.
Hadeel Ayoub, a recent graduate of Goldsmiths, University of London, created the glove as part of her final project to receive her Masters in Computational Arts.
Ayoub said her niece, who communicates through sign language, inspired her to create the glove. She is currently working to put the glove on the market.
“You know when little things happen and it comes together in your mind? Well I thought, ‘what if I could use technology to make a difference?'” Ayoub told Tech Insider.
The glove has five sensors, each placed on one finger, to track hand movements. The sensors detect the bends and curvatures made by the fingers and reports the values to a serial monitor. An accelerometer is also attached to the glove to detect the orientation of the hand.
All of the values collected are run through a program that determines which letters to display on an LED matrix display. Ayoub recently added a chip that can convert the hand gestures into spoken word.
Ayoub has two main focuses in order to further develop the glove. First, she wants to make it smaller so that a four-year-old could use it. To do so, Ayoub said she will need to collaborate with a tailor since it is difficult fitting all the hardware into a smaller space.
She also wants the glove to convert sign language into different languages. Ayoub originally thought of creating a translation app for the glove, but after seeing the translation apps that exist — one she referenced was Apple’s iTranslate app — she is now focusing on pairing the glove with existing ones.
So far, it costs between 250 to 300 pounds ($US380 to $US456) to produce a single glove.
“That’s too much,” Ayoub said, adding she wants to work with a company less interested in making money off the product and more into delivering it at a low cost to schools or hospital patients.
Ayoub said she has been approached by multiple companies about producing the SmartGlove, but that she wants to ensure any collaboration to produce the glove focuses on the objective of assisting people with disabilities. A gaming center at her university approached her about developing the technology for the gaming industry, but she turned them down.
“I want it to be an everyday gadget, like an ear piece for people who can’t hear, as an extension of the body like any normal device,” she said.
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