According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are are about 70 million deaf people who use sign language as their first language or mother tongue. Beyond that, sign language is also the first language to many hearing and deaf-blind people. Unfortunately, there is a barrier between those who use sign language and the majority of people who don’t understand the language.
A team of Ukranian students by the name of QuadSquad has been working on a project called “Enable Talk” that will help solve this language barrier. After interacting with hearing-impaired athletes at their school, they got the brilliant idea to create a device that would help them to communicate better with the rest of the world.
The Enable Talk system is basically gloves equipped with flex sensors, touch sensors, gyroscopes and accelerometers. The gloves (which connect to smartphone via Bluetooth) are able to translate sign language into text and then text into spoken words using a text-to-speech engine.
There have been a handful of projects similar to this in the past, but none have been as technologically advanced or affordable (with prices upwards of $1200), whereas the cost of building the prototypes for the Enable Talk gloves is just $75.
Earlier prototype of the Enable Talk gloves