New ‘smart glove’ translates sign language into words and sound

2 Oct 2015

A really clever project by a London student has resulted in a ‘smart glove’ that can read your sign language, translating it into text and audio.

Hadeel Ayoub, from Goldsmiths, University of London, created the glove as part of her MA in computational arts, with the student’s prototype now in its third generation.

The basics behind the device are sensors along the fingers, and an accelerometer to detect the orientation of the hand.

The original prototype was quite basic, hooking up to a computer programme to translate the messages into text on a little screen on the glove. She then improved on this with a faster-working glove with smaller hardware and more efficient software.

Sing language translation glove translator

She incorporated a smaller microcontroller and smaller flex sensors and redesigned the software to allow text to scroll on a screen, deleting the old and adding the new.

However, it still looked quite scary, so now she has worked out how to build it all into the lining of an actual glove.

“I didn’t want all the wires to intimidate users, making them feel the glove will be complicated to use or really fragile,” Hadeel explained.

“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.”

Sign language translation glove translator

She’s now looking at developing an app for the glove with Wi-Fi and multilingual features in the fourth generation of the project.

Hadeel hopes that if the glove is made available on the mass market, users with disabilities will not have to pay for it, with schools, medical facilities and companies buying it for their staff, students and patients.

“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, with her blog showing how it is all done.

“The prototypes each have a new additional feature, an LED light, and a speaker, for example, that took me one step closer to my goal.

“Once I’ve incorporated Wi-Fi 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.”

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic