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Scientists invent glove that translates sign language to speech

Image source: Jun Chen Lab/UCLA

Scientists invent glove that translates sign language to speech

The clever invention lets the wearer translate sign language to speech through an app.

Scientists invent glove that translates sign language to speech

A team of scientists have built a wearable-tech glove that can translate sign language into English speech in real time.

The research from bioengineers from the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA), published in the journal Nature Electronics, marks a major development in sign language translation technology.

The glove-like device is designed with thin sensors that stretch along the length of each finger and transmits hand motions into an app that then translates them into spoken English, at a rate of one word per second.

The researchers also include sensors in between eyebrows and on the side of mouths to capture facial expressions that are used in American Sign Language.

To test the device, participants were tasked with repeating hand gestures 15 times. Through a custom machine-learning algorithm, the smartphone app translated these gestures into letters, numbers and words.

The system was able to recognise 660 signs, which included each letter of the alphabet and numbers ranging from 0 to 9.

Jun Chen, the principal investigator on the research, says up until this point, wearable translation technology has been bulky, heavy and uncomfortable to use.

UCLA’s newly developed lightweight glove is an inexpensive yet long-lasting piece of technology which is much more user friendly.

“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,” says Chen.

“In addition, we hope it can help more people learn sign language themselves.”

See a video of how the glove works here:

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