Special Gloves May Help Deaf

The gloves are connected to a PC that translates sign language into written English displayed on the PC's monitor.

by / August 23, 2002
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) -- An Australian scientist is developing a set of gloves capable of translating sign language, a move he hopes could ease communication for deaf and mute people.

University of New South Wales research fellow Waleed Kadous said Thursday the gloves would be connected to a computer that has been programmed to measure the movement of the wearer's hand and distinguish between different signs.

It then translates the signs into written English on a monitor.

At a recent trial, the computer was able to translate Australian sign language with 95 percent accuracy, said Kadous.

Kadous said his aim was to create a device enclosed in the gloves that translates signs as they are made and then "speaks" the words through a transmitter to the person with whom the deaf or mute is communicating.

He acknowledged the project was still far from completion.

One problem facing the design team is that sign language does not attempt to reproduce every word in a typical sentence.

"There are roughly two words to a sign," Kadous told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

"In addition, people's signing styles differ, and the signs made by a person with long or short arms differ so the program would need to be calibrated for an individual user in much the way that speech recognition software is," he added.

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