The Seamless Sign-Language Translator

There are about 70 million deaf people in the world who use sign language as their mother tongue.

by Sareh Esmaeli

Sareh Esamaeli is a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering at Polytechnique School of Montreal

Sareh Esamaeli is a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering at Polytechnique School of Montreal

Deaf people always face a big challenge of communication in their life since not everyone has knowledge of the language of lip reading.

In 2015, a team of entrepreneurs who were all deaf have come up with a tablet case called Uni that can translate sign language into text that can be shown on a tablet, to bridge the gap between deaf people and those who can hear.

Uni uses Leap Motion’s motion-sensing technology, which enables a camera to sense hand movements up to one foot away. 

This software interprets signs and matches them with a database of signs to translate them into the correct word. Every time someone signs, Uni's software remembers their movements and improves its translation. It gets smarter to learn a user’s personal signing style. The tool also allows users to add their own signs that are saved to a dictionary. Their hand movements are shown on the screen in real-time so users can see if the software is misinterpreting their signs. Uni also uses a microphone to detect speech and display it on the tablet’s screen for deaf people to read, which may be useful in situations where lip reading is difficult.

“This invention, done by deaf people, reminds me that a disabled person can create something even better than a healthy one. It only depends on how we think about the disability. If it is a trouble or it is an opportunity.”


Reference

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