App that allows deaf people to verbally communicate wins Imagine Cup

Ukrainian teams takes out first place at the 2012 Imagine Cup

A Ukrainian university team has won the 2012 Imagine Cup with a product that allows deaf people to verbally communicate using sensory gloves and a smartphone.

The smartphone Enable Talk app captures hand movements to translate sign language into speech, allowing deaf people to more easily communicate with the wider population.

Data from the sensory gloves, which include 15 flex sensors to capture finger movements, are transmitted to a microcontroller. The microcontroller normalises the data and the data is then transmitted to a smartphone. The app then correlates movement patterns made from sign language with sounds, allowing deaf people to communicate with people who do not know sign language.

The Imagine Cup challenges students around the world to develop unique products using technology.

More than 350 students from 75 countries took part in the Imagine Cup, which covers eight categories, including software design and game design.

A team from Japan took out second place with a power saving system that enables LED lamps to communicate with each other and can dim automatically if there is more light in the room than needed.

Meanwhile, a team from Portugal took out third place with a robotic cart designed to improve the mobility of people with special needs by using motors and sensors powered by Kinect.

Finalists in the software design category included a team from New Zealand who created an app which uses artificial intelligence to help blind people make better visual sense of the world.

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