hearing people can't understand sign language. A team of students from
the Ukraine built a set of electronic gloves to help bridge that gap. A
set of sensors in these gloves, including an accelerometer, compass,
gyroscope and flex sensors in the fingers, translate movement into
signals that a computer converts into speech.
The person wearing the gloves draws a shape in the air. That information is transmitted them via Bluetooth to a
smartphone, which matches the shape up against a set stored in memory. A match produces a sound. For example, waving one's hands in
one pattern produces "nice to meet you" and another pattern produces
"system really works."
gloves were designed by Pasternikov Anton, Osika Maksim, Yasakov
Valeriy and Stepanov Anton, students at the Donetsk branch of the “Step”
are some limitations. One is that the gestures stored in the computer
are not yet sign language. Sign language is as complex as any other
language, and American Sign Language differs from its French or German
counterpart. So far, the system can only read a
dozen or so movements.
challenge will be durability and usefulness. Most people, deaf or not,
don't walk around wearing gloves all the time, and the problem is
multiplied when one considers jobs that require using hands (a bus
driver or typist, for instance).
However, the technology is still
new. The next steps will be streamlining it and finding a way to enable
simultaneous translation, along with expanding the system's gestural
"vocabulary." Maksim told the BBC that the group is trying to build a
truly practical system, though he isn't sure when it would be ready.