This Glove Translates Sign Language Into Speech In Real Time

This Glove Translates Sign Language Into Speech In Real Time

Bioengineers at UCLA have designed a high-tech glove that can translate sign language into speech in real time through a smartphone app.

The glove contains sensors that run along the five fingers to identify each word, phrase or letter as it is made in American Sign Language.

The device then turns the finger movements into electrical signals, which are sent to a small circuit board worn on the wrist. The board transmits those signals wirelessly to a smartphone that translates them into spoken words at the rate of about one word per second.

“Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them,” said Jun Chen, an assistant professor of bioengineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and the principal investigator on the research. “In addition, we hope it can help more people learn sign language themselves.”

The scientists also added adhesive sensors to testers’ faces — in between their eyebrows and on one side of their mouths — to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language.

Previous wearable systems that offered translation from American Sign Language were limited by bulky and heavy device designs or were uncomfortable to wear, Chen said.

This device is made from lightweight and inexpensive but long-lasting, stretchable polymers. The electronic sensors are also very flexible and inexpensive.

UCLA has filed for a patent on the technology. However, a commercial model based on this technology would require added vocabulary and an even faster translation time, Chen said.


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