The sign language was invented for the deaf and dumb to communicate or express their feelings with each other. However, it is not possible to make the entire human race understand or learn the sign language. So there still exists a gap between the speakers of the American Sign Language (ASL) and the rest of the world. In order to overcome this gap two undergraduate students came up with an extremely innovative idea breaking all the barriers.
"Until I was seven years old I didn't speak, so for the first years of my life, I used non-verbal communication. I was sharing that with Thomas, and alongside our interest in invention and problem solving ... somehow this idea of the gloves came to be," Navid Azodi, inventor of “SignAloud” gloves, told ABC News.(Source- ABC News)
“SignAloud gloves use the sensors and Bluetooth to connect the database of the “American Sign Language Society” (ASL) and the inventors believe that it can be further expanded to understand other sign languages as well.”
The team received support and mentoring from Mike Clarke, who manages the CoMotion MakerSpace and met the students after one asked for help with some soldering equipment that turned out to be broken.
Navid Azodi –student of business administration and Thomas Pryor- student of aeronautics engineering are studying at the University of Washington. Lately, they won the “Lemelson MIT-Student prize” under the undergraduate category “Use It” for the invention of the gloves which is capable of converting the sign language to text as well as speech. The “Lemelson MIT-Student prize” searches for the most innovative undergraduate and graduate students nationwide. The prize was worth $10,000 US Dollars.
“Many of the sign language translation devices already out in the market are not practical for everyday use. Some use video input, while the others have sensors that cover the user’s entire arm or body,” (Source- www.washington.edu)
“Our gloves are lightweight, compact and worn on the hands, but ergonomic enough to use as an everyday accessory, similar to hearing aids or contact lenses,” said Pryor. (Source- www.washington.edu)
Though many of the sign language converter devices are already in the market, they are not feasible for the everyday use because of their structure and weight. This “SignAloud” glove is light-weight and comfortable to use. Moreover, it is compact and hands worn. It can also be compared to the hearing aid- which is widely in use today or even the contact lenses.
You can see the demo of SIGNALOUD below: