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The high-tech smart glove that translates sign language into speech

UCLA researchers designed the device which works instantly

sign language
2 July 2020
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A smart glove that can translate sign language into speech in real time has been designed by engineers at a Californian university. Bioengineers at UCLA created the high-tech device which works through a smartphone app, allowing sign-language users and non-signers 'chat'. It is "inexpensive, flexible and highly durable", according to the team.

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smart glove© Jun Chen Lab/UCLA

The glove could be a breakthrough for signers and non-signers to communicate easily

So how does the glove work? The glove contains thin, stretchy sensors that run the length of each of the fingers. These sensors pick up hand motions used in sign language, are turned into electrical signals and sent to a coin-sized circuit board worn on the wrist. These signals are transmitted to a smartphone, which translates them into spoken words at around one word per second.

smart glove sensors© Jun Chen Lab/UCLA

Users wear a coin-sized circuit board that transmits hand movements to a smartphone app for translation

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Lead researcher Assistant Professor Jun Chen said: "Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them. In addition, we hope it can help more people learn sign language themselves." Researchers tested the device on four people who are both deaf and use American Sign Language (ASL), and the team also stuck sensors to the testers’ faces to capture facial expressions that are part of ASL, too.

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