ASL Speakers usage. Bioengineers at the University of California – Los Angeles has recently completed designing a device. It can be worn as a glove and translate American Sign Language in real-time into English. It is possible through an app on a smartphone. Jun Chen, one of the principal investigators on the project, hopes this new invention will help open up communication channels. It will help people who use sign language and cut out the need for a translator. He also has hopes that the new device can help more people learn American Sign Language.
The device is much slimmer than other wearable systems that have been designed. It includes two thin gloves that have stretchable sensors going to all five fingers. The sensors are made of electrically conducting yarn and pick up hand motions and finger placements. The device also has adhesive sensors for the face, to pick up on facial expressions that are part of ASL.
The bioengineers were able to make this device from relatively low-cost materials, including long-lasting, stretchable polymers and flexible electronic sensors. When testing the device, the team includes working with four people that are deaf and use ASL. In order for the devices to learn the different signs, each sign repeats 15 times while wearing the gloves. The custom machine-learning algorithm that the UCLA team developed was able to turn these signs into words, letters, and numbers in English. So far, the algorithm is able to recognize 660 signs, which includes all 26 letters of the alphabet and the numbers 0 through 9.
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