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Developer creates smart glove to help his deaf niece to communicate

Shared by Ana Duarte on 2019-05-23 13:27

About the solution

With this solution, patients who are deaf or mute can communicate more easily with the general public.

“My niece wears the gloves, pairs them with her phone or mine, then starts signing. I’m able to understand what she’s saying,” Roy explained.
Sign-IO works by recognising different signed letters and transmitting this data to an Android app, that later vocalises this information.

The app allows the users to set the language, gender and pitch of the audio voice (accuracy results of 93%).

One of the most important features of these gloves is the speed at which the signs are being vocalised.

“People speak at different speeds and it’s the same with people who sign – some are really fast, others are slow. So we integrated that into the mobile application so that it’s comfortable for anyone to use,” he observed.

According to Roy, this device can help the user with more than just daily communication.

“It fights the stigma associated with being deaf and having a speech impediment. If the gloves look cool, every kid will want to know why you are wearing them,” he noted.

Sign-IO, still a prototype, is the winner of the hardware trailblazer award at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 2017. It was placed 2nd runners-up at the Royal Academy of Engineering Leaders in Innovation Fellowship in London. It’s also on the shortlist for the 2019 Africa Prize for Engineering.

The inventor aims to put at least two pairs of gloves in every Kenyan special needs school.

“The general public in Kenya doesn’t understand sign language, so when she goes out, she always needs a translator. Imagine that dependency over the long term; how much that plagues or impairs her progress in life. When it affects you personally, you see how hard people have it in life. That’s why I’ve really strived to develop this project to completion.”I was trying to envision how my niece’s life would be if she had the same opportunities as everyone else in education, employment – all aspects of life,” he said.

The project is open source and the code can be found on Roy’s website.

Adapted from: https://bit.ly/2CewpvT

More info: http://www.royallela.com/

This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

About the author

Roy Allela, born and living in Kenya, is a software engineer whose niece if deaf. So he came up with Sig-IO, a glove that translates sign language to speech.

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