Hadeel Ayoub has created a smart glove that can interpret sign language and convert it into speech in real time. She is a graduate student of Goldsmiths, University of London and she created this glove during her final project in partial fulfillment of the requirements for her Masters degree in Computational Arts.
This gadget is called the Sign Language Glove. This will come as a relief to the significant number of people that have difficulty communicating in sign language.
The glove works by utilizing multiple flex sensors that are attached to the finger positions. The orientation of the glove is also monitored with the help of an accelerometer. All the data is then combined and sent to a CPU in real time. The CPU correspondingly calculates the exact hand gesture the user is trying to perform.
This is not the first time a device like this has been made. Just three years ago, a team from Ukraine, Team QuadSquad, developed a prototype version of the device and was widely recognized by developers around the world. It won a software design competition in the same year as well.
In July this year, another team from Mexico also developed a prototype glove that reads the user’s movements via a set of sensors and feeds the data to a mobile phone via a Bluetooth connection. An application in the mobile phone uses this data to calculate the user’s hand gesture.
Ayoub argues that her own model is much less bulky than the other sign language translator gloves out there. Her glove is already capable of multilingual translation and she is even intent of going a step further, which is a kid’s version. It will be interesting to see how she will pull this off without compromising on performance.
She also talked about how she wanted the device to be user friendly.
“I didn’t want all the wires to intimidate users, making them feel the glove will be complicated to use or really fragile,” she said when speaking to her university’s press.
“People tend to lean to the cautious side when approached with new high-tech products, which contradicts the main purpose of this glove, which is to help make lives easier.”
It looks like her main focus is finding a way to make the device as simple as possible and at the same time improve its performance and functionality. While speaking to Motherboard, Ayoud mentioned that the next version of the glove will be able to sent text messages and even emails based by using special gestures.
Ayoub has also been approached by other companies that are interested in using her new technology. A gaming center at her university also asked her whether it would be possible to use the technology in the gaming industry. She rejected their offer. She maintains that her technology is only aimed at disabled people.
“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.