Making sign language audible.

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Gloves that speak
By Michelle Robertson
Two American students have invented gloves that turn sign language into the spoken word, opening a whole new means of communication for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. These wonder gloves – aptly named SignAloud – are programmed to react to the hand gestures of the wearer as they form the phrases of American sign language. They send this data wirelessly to a central computer, and audible speech comes out through a small speaker on the gloves. These gloves are lightweight and ergonomic enough to be used as an everyday accessory, “similar to a hearing aid or contact lenses” according to the inventors.

Two engineering students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Navid Azodi and Thomas Pryor, are the creators of this ingenious solution for the deaf and hearing impaired. “Many of the sign language translation devices already out there are not practical for everyday use,” said Thomas. “Some use video input, while others have sensors that cover the user’s entire arm or body.”

Not only does this wonder invention allow people with disabilities to get their message across, it also serves as a valuable teaching aid for those in the process of learning how to work with Sign Language. And there’s more good news. The technology of these gloves may also be adaptable for other uses such as monitoring stroke patients, gesture control and even enhanced dexterity in virtual reality.

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