Hi-Tech 'QuadSquad' Glove Allows Deaf to Speak Out

Dennis Faas's picture

A team of Ukrainian researchers calling themselves "QuadSquad" are breaking down barriers between people who communicate with sign language and those who hear and speak.

Their method is based on an ingenious glove-based system that allows people using the two different modes of communication to understand each other easily.

Called EnableTalk, the specially-designed glove senses the movements of the wearer's fingers and translates each meaningful sign into spoken words.

Glove Features Special Sensors, Accelerometers

The glove is quite remarkable. It is lined with more than a dozen flex sensors that detect changes in electrical resistance based on their shape, and so can transmit a signal telling whether a finger is bent or touched.

The glove also houses built-in accelerometers capable of reading a flight of hand gestures.

On the back of each glove, a computerized controller analyzes all incoming electrical signals and transmits them via Bluetooth to a mobile receiving device. The plan is to make EnableTalk compatible with both Android and iOS devices.

At present, Windows 8-based software translates each set of signals into audio, so that spoken words can be heard. (Source: smartplanet.com)

The entire system is powered by a lithium-ion battery, recharged via USB. QuadSquad has also designed solar cells into the device, providing an extra power boost.

Another amazing feature about the translation system is that it possesses the ability to learn, based on the individual preferences of each glove wearer. A person can teach the system new gestures, and modify those the designers have already included in its standard library of movements.

Limited Vocabulary Delays Marketability

The prototype glove is being offered for sale at $150. Early projections indicate that the price will likely drop to about $75, once the product becomes commercialized.

However, many experts are indicating that it will take a while before the gloves are made available to the general public.

While the market will surely be receptive, at this point the gloves are capable of translating only five different sign language phrases. Obviously, this severely limits the gloves' effectiveness in daily usage. (Source: pcworld.com)

QuadSquad is currently working to expand the system's sign-spoken dictionary of phrases.

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