First reported on USENET newsgroups, Ukrainian students participating in the Microsoft Imagine Cup in Sydney, Australia have revealed a new glove system called Enable Talk. The team of students, called QuadSquad, aimed to create a solution that would allow mute and deaf-mute individuals to better communicate with individuals who do not understand sign language.
The team even made it possible for the user to teach the gloves new sign language gestures. They may even alter existing gestures to better reflect the type of sign language with which they are most comfortable. Sign languages may vary from one country or region to the next, so gestures that work for one group may not work for another.
The system works by first converting the sign language into text using “modern microcontroller, 15 flex sensors, an accelerometer, gyroscope, and a compass in order to define the position of the glove in space,” according to the team’s Enable Talk website. The text is then converted into speech and transmitted to a cell phone via Bluetooth technology. It even features a solar panel that helps to prolong battery life.
The students note that interaction with hearing-impaired athletes in their school led to the inspiration for the gloves. “We hope that our solution will help a lot more people.” QuadSquad took first place in the Software Design category at this year’s Imagine Cup.
Innovation, especially in the software and technology fields, has driven discussion within an array of tech and computer newsgroups throughout Usenet. The inventiveness of the new sign language gloves certainly fit the bill and should drive some interesting discussion among users.