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Technology

New Wearable Tech Translates Sign Language Into Text (thestack.com) 32

An anonymous reader writes: A new wearable technology developed by a team of biomedical engineers at Texas A&M University seeks to aid seamless communication between deaf people who use sign language and those who do not understand it. The arm device contains a network of sensors which track hand movements, as well as the electromyography (EMG) signals generated by the muscles in the wrist, and process and translate the different signals into text in real-time.The prototype currently uses Bluetooth to translate the sign language to a computer or smartphone.
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New Wearable Tech Translates Sign Language Into Text

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  • huh ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @05:07PM (#51004441)

    why cant deaf people just type their words into a TTS app running on their smartphones.

    • why cant deaf people just type their words into a TTS app running on their smartphones.

      Maybe they're wanting to engage in public speaking with a mixed crowd of hearing and deaf individuals but are either self-conscious of how well they can speak or never developed the skill to begin with?

      Maybe they're online with their gaming console and want a way to communicate quickly to teammates without interrupting their gameplay with on-screen keyboards that take forever to type into?

      Maybe they want something that's faster than typing on a smartphone?

      There are plenty of reasons for this sort of thing,

    • Why can't people who speak Dutch just speak English?

    • by tgeller ( 10260 )
      The same reason you don't type everything -- signing is (much) faster, easier, requires less education/skill, much more accessible to people with disabilities...

      Having said that, it's interesting to see how *everybody*, including the hearing/speaking, are typing more and more to communicate -- even in person. As hearing society changes, so does deaf society.
  • Put it on a gorilla and then we'll see if it's any good.
  • My wife is a New Zealand Sign Language interpreter (it's our third official language here). The problem with sign language is that it doesn't just use hand gestures, but also requires facial expression to convey meaning. So while they might be able to interpret gestures of the hands, they will miss a significant proportion of the meaning.

    The end result will be something that might be able to translate finger spelling, but not much else. Also, sign language uses relative location to the speaker in order
    • I've learnt a little Auslan (Australian sign language) and it's not only the above points, but also context. Completely different english words may use the same sign depending on context.
    • American Sign Language (ASL) has a syntax and morphology as different from English as that of Chinese or Arabic. There are some examples here: http://files.start-american-si... [start-amer...nguage.com]. (I'm sure that's true of other sign languages as well.) It may be that these researchers do some kind of grammatical analysis (the links don't say), but it's highly unlikely that it uses the same statistically based MT approach that Google MT and other modern MT systems use, for a simple reason: statistical MT works off of biling
  • There's something they've missed here that is crucial, and it's called user acceptance. The user of the device (the deaf person in this case) must want to use the technology. You would think that this would be wildly popular with the users from the outside looking in. However, there is a very real deaf culture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] . Many deaf people do not believe there is anything wrong with being deaf and actively reject those who seek treatment to cure their deafness. I suspect this wi
  • This may help deaf people send a message. but it's one way and it seems to me that the options already available may be slower but both sides can use it. Both sides can learn how to type.

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