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Hearing Innovation Spotlight- Gloves Convert Sign Language to Speech

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 9:02:29 AM Australia/Melbourne

It is so inspiring to the Hearlink team and our community to see the technological advancements and scientific innovations which are sweeping the hearing industry. It reminds us that we’re all working towards one common goal- a mass reduction of hearing loss for those impacted around the world.


The Hearlink blog likes to take the time to shine giant floodlights on such innovations for a couple of different reasons. We love to educate our readers. We love to empower you with the knowledge to be passionate about the hearing industry. We also like to highlight these stories because they give us an internal push to drive advancements in our product inventory. We never want to remain complacent with the products that we offer. When we hear about the next, best thing, we want to share it with our patients and customers at price points that make the most sense for you.


Hearing Innovation Spotlight- Gloves Convert Sign Language to SpeechSO. On to today’s innovation. A truly cool news story out of the University of Washington, in the United States. SignAloud, gloves which can recognize hand gestures within the American Sign Language, was developed by Navid Azodi and Thomas Pryor. The success of the innovation rings close to home for Nazid, as its inspiration stems from a personal experience.


“Until I was seven years old I didn’t speak,” Nazid told ABC news. “So for the first years of my life I relied solely on non-verbal communication. Alongside our interest in invention and problem solving, the idea of the gloves came to be.”


You’re probably wondering how they work. The gloves use sensors to record movement and hand positions, then record the movements and hand positions. The data is then sent wirelessly direct to the main, central computer, which is able to match it with a gesture in the American Sign Language database. Once a match is made, then that corresponding term is spoken out loud.


The road to success was paved with challenges. The ASL language is extremely complex, beautiful to the two inventors. It’s tough to translate something so comprehensive into spoken English, because many of the specifics of the syntax can be lost in the process. Though they don’t have the entirety of an ASL vocabulary loaded into the database, they have enough of a foundation to have won a prize of $10,000 from Lemelson-MIT.


The sky is the limit for these two. Though they haven’t yet decided if they want to launch this product in market, they’re already seeing an abundance of applications where this software could be useful in the real world. They see it building bridges and breaking down barriers in virtual reality, gaming, education and healthcare among other industries. One challenge is the price tag. They see this being an inclusive software, available to as many as possible.


Nazid and Thomas, the Hearlink team wish you the best of luck in your journeys ahead. It’s thanks to dreamers like you, that we can hope for a world without hearing loss.

Posted in Industry News By

Hearlink Admin