The device costs only $ 50 and may see its price drop.
Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) have managed to develop a device to facilitate communication between people who practice sign language with people who do not use it.
The device in question is based on a pair of gloves fitted with sensors which send signals to a smartphone application. The latter is able to translate up to 660 terms in American sign language in real time at a rate of 60 words per minute. According to the researchers, the accuracy of the device is 98.63%. The device also incorporates sensors to be placed on the face of people who speak sign language to capture all of their facial expressions. The face has a central place in this language.
The usefulness of this device is obviously to allow dumb or deaf people to be easily understood by people who do not practice sign language. But the device could also have an educational interest and simply help people who learn sign language to master it.
“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, assistant professor of bioengineering at UCLA, to the media Fast Company. The researchers behind the device said the app could translate more signs as they develop their system.
If the concept is not new, the device developed by UCLA researchers stands out thanks to its very affordable cost. Currently, the prototype including gloves, sensors and application costs $ 50, but its price could drop further as researchers make changes to it and the device is produced on a large scale.