New device to translate sign language into audible words

Sign language translation technology MyVoice may finally eliminate the communication barrier between those who can hear and those who can’t

The communication barrier between people who can hear and the deaf may become a thing of the past if a prototype technology by University of Houston students hits the market.

Whereas sign language has played a crucial role in helping the deaf communicate better, most people are not fluent in sign language. The motions and hand shapes of sign language still give a considerable number of people a hard time interpreting. The University of Houston students want to change this in an innovative way.

The engineering technology and industrial design students teamed up to design and develop a prototype sign language translation technology called MyVoice. The device can read sign language and translate its motions and hand shapes into audible words.

The device is made up of a soundboard, speaker, video camera, monitor and built-in microphone. The device will bridge the communication barrier by translating both ways, from sign language to audible speech and vice versa.

It will capture a speaker’s voice and translate his or her words into sign language for the deaf. The motions and shapes will be displayed on its monitor for the deaf user. The prototype device takes into account the various challenges individuals not familiar with sign language face when communicating with persons incapable of hearing.

MyVoice has already garnered first place at the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) - Gulf Southwest Annual Conference.

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