Glove Translates Sign Language into Text and Speech

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Designer and media artist Hadeel Ayoub,who has just completed her master’s degree from Goldsmith’s University of London, created the wireless SignLanguageGlove to improve communication between people with disabilities. 

The glove, first introduced in October, has already gone through three prototype stages. The original version of the SignLanguageGlove interpreted gestures made by the user into visual letters on a screen using a number of sensors, a microcontroller board, and a four-digit graphic numerical display. The second prototype sought to make the glove smaller, lighter, and more efficient. The third version incorporates a text-to-speech chip. Much of the glove’s hardware is now sewn into the lining.

"I didn't want all the wires to intimidate users, making them feel the glove will be complicated to use or really fragile," Ayoub said in a statement. "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."

Ayoub is now working on an accompanying smartphone and tablet app that will be able to receive the glove's output through Wi-Fi. She also hopes to eventually integrate a translation feature that will allow for real-time translation in multiple languages and a motion sensor for better mapping. She also hopes to develop a smaller version of the glove that would be suitable for children.

Ayoub has already been approached by several companies interested in taking the glove into production. Earlier this year, she won an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Prize for Saudi Students in the U.K. for an early glove prototype.

"I had one mission when I started this project and it was to facilitate communication between all kinds of disabilities, eliminating barriers between people who have a visual, hearing, or speech impairment," she said in the statement. "Once I've incorporated WiFi and translation features into it, the glove will be useful for all – no exclusions as to who the user can reach, wherever, whoever, from any country at any time."

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