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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

Bracelet and rings translate sign language

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Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Credit: Asia University)

A concept bracelet and rings set uses motion sensors and an LED display to translate sign language.

This recipient of a Red Dot design award may be just a concept, but it has a lot of potential. Designed by students at Asia University, the Sign Language Ring — inspired by Buddhist prayer beads — aims to solve the problem of communication with the hearing impaired.

It consists of a bracelet and a set of six rings that snap on to the side. When deployed, three rings per hand, they use motion sensors to track the motions of the wearer's hands and fingers, translating the sign language into spoken words, which are then played by a speaker on the bracelet.

(Credit: Asia University)

The wearer can also pre-record signing motions, customising it to the wearer's particular gestures.

The bracelet also has a microphone inside. This hears words spoken to the wearer and translates them into text, which is displayed on an LED screen on the top of the bracelet.

We already have text-to-speech and speech-to-text technologies, so that integration seems fairly simple to arrange. There might be a few more issues with the motion sensing, but by integrating the ability to customise the Sign Language Ring to the wearer, the designers have mitigated the error margin.

Still, some research and development would doubtless be required to bring it from concept to reality. We hope that happens — it could prove an incredible leap forward in communication for the hearing impaired.

(Credit: Asia University)


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GeorgeC3 posted a comment   

A few ideas on this:

-Make no mistake, to be practical, this device will have to be doing machine translation. Signed languages are not codes for spoken languages -- they are languages in their own right, and we know how difficult machine translation is. Unless the Deaf person uses Signed Exact English, the translation will be derpy until the larger machine translation problem is solved.
-The most successful machine translation algorithms use statistical methods on a corpus of parallel texts. No sign language has a commonly-used writing system (I'm not counting the as-yet little used proposals like SignWriting), so we may need to use spoken material with ASL interpretation as a source. And really, unless the device is networked to a remote server, it may just be stuck with rule-based translation anyway.
-In short, it's a cool concept, but there are some very large issues to resolve.


LTLsisaleo posted a reply   

I agree with you and the exact point that im making


EarlP posted a comment   

It's cool idea but personally. I dont think it will work really good. Like youtube caption they dont work good.

I'm also deaf


VictoriaJ1 posted a comment   

Calling the Deaf 'hearing impaired' is extremely offensive. The proper term is "hard or hearing" or just deaf. They are by no means disabled or impaired. This is really cool technology though!


DylanL2 posted a reply   

lol was that a joke? Because it seems to be having trouble hearing is the literal translation of being impaired. Are we that politically correct? I would assume being called deaf would be almost more offensive. (since that has been used in a derogatory way) Ive never heard anyone try to put someone down by saying are you hearing impaired.


JamesK11 posted a reply   

The Deaf community do not like the term "hearing impaired" They are Deaf... If you knew anything about Deaf culture, you would know that the term is not one that is used anymore... It has nothing to do with being politically correct. It's nice you got such a laugh from Victoria's post.. it shows that you need to think before you speak.


DeafR posted a reply   

Thumb up VictoriaJ1


SanjioI posted a comment   

this text to speech would be a help to people I used to work with who were deaf blind. When their hearing aide would go out they were stuck. Just imagine if they were able to continue to communicate


VioletR posted a comment   

My fiance is deaf and has a hard time communicating with my family and sometimes myself... I would do anything to get my hands on these babys.. ahhhhhhh so excited.


DeafR posted a reply   

LEARN SIGN LANGUAGE!!! your family and you! Violet R

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