This Glove Turns Signing Into Text and Voice #WearableWednesday


This glove found on Science Alert looked familiar to me, and I realized that we had posted about a similar glove last year. It just shows that people love to work on projects that give back— huzzah!  This week’s model is by Hadeel Ayoub, a designer in Saudia Arabia who has a personal connection to someone who signs.

I have an autistic niece who is four and who doesn’t speak. When I saw her communicating with sign language, I wondered what would happen if she tried to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak the same language.

If you haven’t tried communicating with someone who can’t speak, I can tell you that things usually move to pen and paper pretty quickly. So, the idea of a glove that can translate sign language into voice and text is really quite amazing. Hadeel’s glove uses a Lilypad Arduino with it’s matching accelerometer, as well as an Adafruit OLED display. Flex sensors mounted on the glove help to locate the positions of the fingers, while the accelerometer tracks the position of the hand. Together these movements are translated on the display or through a speaker using a text-to-speech chip.

Even though this glove has been done before, open source allows information to be shared, which makes improvements inevitable. Hadeel has already created a leaner design, and now she is working on adding multilingual translation and WiFi connection so the glove can handle text and emails. It all falls under her master plan to “facilitate communication between people, and break down language barriers in the process”.

Not only do I like this project because of it’s contribution to accessibility, but I also like how it presents another option in the scheme of hacking. Most people think you have to come up with an original idea to get started and they steer clear of hackathons. However, there are many opportunities to take what already exists and make it awesome. Hadeel has clearly improved and expanded on this design. In fact, she hopes to make it available for children. So, take a look at what already gets you pumped and figure out other options. Can you build on features, add an app, expand the size range, make it customizable, or implement it in a robot? Maybe you are pretty taken with this whole glove idea and want to design it for another use. Get some flex sensors and start thinking about which movement will create an action. Take a pic and show us what you got!


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