Ukraine team wins Imagine Cup with gloves that convert sign language to speech

Jul 11, 2012 by Bob Yirka report

(Phys.org) -- For about a decade, Microsoft has been running a competition called the Imagine Cup that rewards people for developing innovative ideas using Microsoft products. This year the competition was held in Sydney Australia, and the winner in the software category was quadSquad from Ukraine for a system they call EnableTalk; a truly unique and useful system that allows hearing impaired people who rely on sign language to communicate to those who can hear by employing a pair of sensor enabled gloves that are able to capture sign language gestures, translate them to text and then have the words spoken using a text-to-speech translator on a cell phone. For their efforts the team won $25,000 in prize money and likely the gratitude of millions once the gloves make it to market.

The gloves work through the use of five : flex sensors in the gloves record finger movements and a main controller coordinates information from an accelerometer/compass, an /gyroscope, a and a Bluetooth module. Windows mobile software was used to convert the gesture commands to sound signals for broadcast by the Bluetooth module. The are converted to voice using Microsoft Speech and Bing APIs running on a Smartphone, which ultimately serves as the voice for the person using the system. The team, made up of members identified as AntonStepanov, MaxOsika, Scizor60 and mentor dmitrtys, told the audience watching the demonstration of EnableTalk that the whole thing costs only about $50 per system (not including cell phone) and that they believe it could be brought down to $20 when mass produced. Conventional systems meant to pull off the same feat, but offer less sensitivity, typically run into the thousands of dollars.

The team said the idea for their system came from the frustration they experienced when trying to communicate with hearing impaired athletes at their school. They also noted that the system can be easily tweaked by the user to incorporate custom signs and thus can be used for virtually any dialect. The point they say is to help those with hearing impairments better manage in the world of the hearing. The problem with sign language they point out, is that most people who can hear never learn it, thus those with hearing impairments are only able to communicate with a small part of the general population which generally includes those who cannot hear and those in their immediate circle. This new system they say, will allow those with hearing impairments to communicate with anyone.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.


Explore further: Bringing history and the future to life with augmented reality

Related Stories

Glove designers plan messaging path for deaf-blind

Apr 07, 2012

(Phys.org) -- People coping with the double absence of vision and hearing can communicate via mobile devices with the help of a special glove, now under development in Germany’s Design Research Lab. The ...

Recommended for you

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Neuroscientist's idea wins new-toy award

Apr 15, 2014

When he was a child, Robijanto Soetedjo used to play with his electrically powered toys for a while and then, when he got bored, take them apart - much to the consternation of his parents.

Land Rover demos invisible bonnet / car hood (w/ video)

Apr 14, 2014

(Phys.org) —Land Rover has released a video demonstrating a part of its Discover Vision Concept—the invisible "bonnet" or as it's known in the U.S. the "hood" of the car. It's a concept the automaker ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Students take clot-buster for a spin

(Phys.org) —In the hands of some Rice University senior engineering students, a fishing rod is more than what it seems. For them, it's a way to help destroy blood clots that threaten lives.

Finnish inventor rethinks design of the axe

(Phys.org) —Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä is the man behind the Vipukirves Leveraxe, which is a precision tool for splitting firewood. He designed the tool to make the job easier and more efficient, with ...

First steps towards "Experimental Literature 2.0"

As part of a student's thesis, the Laboratory of Digital Humanities at EPFL has developed an application that aims at rearranging literary works by changing their chapter order. "The human simulation" a saga ...