At the Atlanta Maker Faire on October fourth, I was happy to meet Payam Ghobadpour and Madeleyne Vaca who were showing off a prototype sign language translation glove called the Sign plus plus. They, along with Kelley Sheffield abd Andrew Thieck came up with this device at a HackGT hackathon event.
The glove is powered by an Intel Edison general purpose computing platform. Interestingly, the Edison can be programmed in C++, which would seem to have something to do with the name of the device!
I didn’t see it in action, translating signs into speech or text, but the basic idea is that there is a sensor attached to each finger and thumb, which would allow the processor to translate these finger motions into letters or words. As their website points out, although those that can’t speak can communicate with a teletype device, they lack the ability to express some of the nuances that signing allows for. It’s exciting to think what something like this could be capable of once developed further.
Interestingly, this type of glove, also listed at the “SignFlx,” is envisioned to possibly have more uses than signing to generate speech or text. Air guitar is mentioned as an application, as well as video games. Perhaps the latter use isn’t entirely new, but in their defense, typical college students are, I suppose, too young to remember the Power Glove!