A man arrives at the airport in a foreign country. He communicates with American Sign Language, but can still ask the customs agent where baggage claim is. When he gets in a taxi, he can tell the driver where he wants to go. Because both spaces are outfitted with KinTrans, the traveler can “talk” to non-signers in their own language.
That’s what plays out in a video from Dallas-based startup KinTrans — a technology that allows people who use sign language to communicate with those who don’t. It uses a 3-D camera to track a signer’s hand and body movements. It can then translate those words into English or Arabic (although more languages are to come). KinTrans can also translate spoken words into American Sign Language or Arabic Union Sign Language, and an on-screen avatar will sign the words. The tech’s creators report the device already recognizes signs correctly about 98 percent of the time.
The two-way translator frees the hearing-impaired from depending on interpreters, enabling them to communicate freely, easily and independently with anyone. The company’s mission is to support 13 million deaf people in North America in the next three years.