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Hi-tech glove that translates sign language into English

The glove still represents a prototype that needs to be faster and understand more characters to be practical.

Researchers from UCLA have developed a cheap, hi-tech glove that can translate sign language into written and spoken words on a smartphone.

The system works in real time and can interpret 660 characters of American Sign Language with a promising accuracy of 98.63 percent. This could one day be used to teach more people sign language and to help deaf people communicate with users who do not know sign language, writes Engadget.

The gloves contain stretch sensors made of electrically sensitive fibers that extend on each of the five fingers. The signals travel to a coin-sized plate placed on the back of the glove, which then transmits the wireless signal to the smartphone.

The app can convert them to real-time text at the rate of one word per second (60 words per minute). The team also installed sensors that it pasted on the faces of people who tested this glove to record facial expressions that are part of American Sign Language.

This concept is not new, but the prototype glove created by the UCLA team is more comfortable and far less bulky than other designs, the researchers claim. An even better thing is that the parts cost about $ 50 and the price can drop even more with large production, UCLA assistant professor Jun Chen told Fast Company.

The glove still represents a prototype that needs to be faster and understand more characters to be practical. However, after a few more years of development, it would allow deaf people to communicate more easily. “We hope this will be an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate with those who don’t know it without needing someone else,” Chen said.

Critics within the deaf community were not so impressed, saying deaf people already have tools to help them communicate.“It would be a lot easier if the technology focused on user-based design,” Gabrielle Hodge, a deaf researcher at the postdoctoral study, told CNN. However, the glove could also serve as a means of education. “We hope this will help more people learn sign language,” Chen said.

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