A student at the Goldsmiths, University of London, has created a glove that can translate sign language into text and speech.
The glove dubbed SignLanguageGlove is the brain child of media artist and designer Hadeel Ayoub of Goldsmiths, who has recently completed her MA in Computational Arts from the University's Department of Computing.
Ayoub says that she made the wireless glove in a bid to improve communication among people who suffer from different types of disabilities. A prototype of the glove was also responsible for Ayoub receiving an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Prize for Saudi Students in the UK earlier in 2015.
Talking to Motherboard, Ayoub revealed that her autistic niece was the inspiration that led to the development of the SignLanguageGlove.
"I have an autistic niece who is four and who doesn't speak. When I saw her communicating with sign language, I wondered what would happen if she tried to communicate with someone who doesn't speak the same language," says Ayoub. "Does that mean she wouldn't be able to get through to them?"
The wireless glove can translate sign language and gestures to speech or visual letters, which can be read on a mobile device such as a tablet or a smartphone. Ayoub says that she wants to introduce multi-lingual features to the glove that will facilitate translation in many languages.
Ayoub explains that the glove uses five flex sensors on the fingers, which detects the bending movement of fingers when gestures are made. These movements are then translated to a monitor. The glove also includes an accelerometer that traces how a user orientates their hand when they make a sign.
Ayoub has made three prototypes of the glove and the latest prototype has all hardware incorporated within the glove's lining.
"I didn't want all the wires to intimidate users, making them feel the glove will be complicated to use or really fragile," says Ayoub. "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."
In the past, many researchers have developed such a glove but Ayoub claims that her invention is less bulky in comparison to similar gloves. Ayoub is also working on making smaller version of the gloves for children.