Hearing impaired individuals face multiple difficulties besides the inability to perceive sound. An essential stumbling block for the deaf, trouble with communicating can often result from the multitude of people who do not typically understand sign language or know how to use it. A 2005 report conducted by the Gallaudet Research Institute revealed that there are around 1 million deaf people living in the United States.
MyVoice Translates Sign Language to English
A group of students from the University of Houston have developed a prototype sign-language-to-English translator in an attempt to address the communication barrier that exists between deaf people and the large section of the populace that cannot understand their method of speech or their enunciation of words. MyVoice is a portable American Sign Language translator that incorporates a microphone, speaker, sound board, video camera and monitor to perform the task of “reading” hand gestures and audibly repeat the message to the hearing person. An innovative device, MyVoice is also able to translate spoken words into images of sign language gestures displayed on the mechanism’s monitor.
Earning the scholars first-prize for their student project at the American Society of Engineering Education, MyVoice was no easy feat to develop. According to the now-graduates, putting together a database of sign language images was a challenge. Including up 300 images per sign, the students were only able to manage taking their project from its conceptual stage to a built prototype. Ready to make MyVoice a product that will break down communication challenges for the deaf community, the group are hoping to collaborate with financial backers going forward.
Many people have compared the invention to AcceleGlove, a one-way deaf-to-hearing translator that scans sign language gestures and translates them into written words or speech. Similar in many ways to online sign language translator services, MyVoice takes AcceleGlove a step further by providing a two-way translation service.
MyVoice A Potential Smartphone App?
The prototype has initiated discussions about developing a smartphone app that can replicate the functionality of MyVoice. Technology experts have advocated the suggestion by confirming that the powerful processor, LCD screen, and in-built microphone of smartphone technology is definitely suited to the project.
Thrilled about the line of discussion, as well as the media spotlight being generated by MyVoice, spokesperson of the former technology student, Farrokh Attarzadeh, stated that the group was very proud to contribute to the merging of the deaf community with common society. A sign language interpreter that champions the cause of the hearing impaired, MyVoice is a boon to global culture and an example of the way in which digital expertise can aid important causes.
Bella Gray is a technology blogger who dabbles in legal translation. A maestro of tips and strategies for navigating the digital sphere, Gray is the perfect go-to-gal for all your online tips and solutions.