Life On Earth
New Device Translates Sign Language Into Speech
Sign language goes a huge way towards helping people with impaired hearing communicate, but the problem is that those who don't need it don't usually understand it. That could change very soon with a new handheld device called MyVoice, designed by the students at University of Houston.
MyVoice has a video camera, a microphone, a monitor and a speaker. The camera processes the movements and translates them into speech through the speaker. It can also work backwards by using the microphone and the monitor to translate audio speech into signs. The device isn't nearly 100% functional yet and the team of students have graduated since they started development, but they are still planning to develop it and turn it into a fully functional and marketable device. Even in its current form, MyVoice has won first place at an American Society of Engineering Education event.
This device will definitely be a hit with those who have to communicate with the hearing impaired on a regular basis, but it's one of those things that you never know when you need. There's a perfect medium for that kind of technology - smartphones. With rumors of the Kinect motion sensor coming to Windows Phone, what better platform to pick this up?. Making sign language accessible to all could make for some very decent PR for Microsoft and really show that Kinect and Windows Phone were made for each other.
By Denis Ivanov.
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