Who

People who use sign language could communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them.

What

This glove translates American Sign Language into English speech in real time through a smartphone app. The system includes a pair of gloves with thin, stretchable sensors that run the length of each of the five fingers. These sensors, made from electrically conducting yarns, pick up hand motions and finger placements that stand for individual letters, numbers, words, and phrases. The device then turns the finger movements into electrical signals that are sent to a dollar-coin-sized circuit board worn on the wrist. The board transmits those signals wirelessly to a smart-phone that translates them into spoken words at the rate of about one word per second. Adhesive sensors are added to the signers’ faces — in between their eyebrows and on one side of their mouths — to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language.

Where

Samueli School of Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Why

Previous wearable systems that offered translation from American Sign Language were limited by bulky and heavy device designs or were uncomfortable to wear. The new device is made from lightweight and inexpensive but long-lasting, stretchable polymers.

When

UCLA has filed for a patent. A commercial model based on the technology would require additional vocabulary and a faster translation time.

Contact the UCLA Technology Development Group at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 310-794-0558.


Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the September, 2020 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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