It is estimated that between 100,000 and 1 million people use American Sign Language in the United States. And like deaf communities around the world, when they communicate with non-signers, they typically need someone else to translate for them or turn to text-to-speech software for that. But thanks to a new invention, that may no longer be necessary.
Scientists from UCLA have recently developed a smart glove that translates sign language into speech in real-time, potentially allowing deaf people to communicate directly with anyone, without the need for a translator.
The wearable device works with the help of sensors that run along the four fingers and thumb to identify each word, phrase, or letter as it is made in American Sign Language. Those signals are then sent wirelessly to a smartphone, which translates them into spoken words at a rate of one word per second.
The inventors believe the innovation could allow for easier communication for deaf people. “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 lead researcher Jun Chen.