25 Year Old Black Engineer Invests Gloves That Turn Sign Language Into Audible Sound


 Image Credit: Instagram

In recent years, there has been a growing push to make our world more inclusive for all individuals, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. This has led to the development of various technologies aimed at breaking down communication barriers, and one of these technologies is the Sign-IO gloves.

The Sign-IO gloves, invented by 25-year-old engineer and inventor Roy Allela, are designed to help eliminate the communication barrier between deaf and hearing individuals. These gloves translate sign language into audible speech, enabling deaf individuals to communicate with anyone face-to-face.

The Inspiration Behind the Sign-IO Gloves

The inspiration behind the creation of the Sign-IO gloves came from Allela's six-year-old niece, born deaf. She struggled to communicate with her family, who did not understand sign language. With Allela's background in data science and machine learning, he saw the potential to develop smart gloves that could convert sign language into audio speech.

"My niece wears gloves, pairs them to phone, then starts signing & I'm able to understand what she's saying," says Allela. "Like all sign language users, she's very good at lip reading, so she doesn't need me to sign back."

Image Credit: Instagram

How the Sign-IO Gloves Work

The Sign-IO gloves feature sensors on each of the five fingers to determine hand movements, including the amount a finger is bent. The gloves are connected via Bluetooth to an Android app developed by Allela, which uses a text-to-speech function to convert the gestures into vocal speech.

The Sign-IO gloves deliver translations in real time and can be customized to the user's preferred interpretation speed. The device can also be altered to manipulate the voice's pitch, speed, and tone.

According to Allela, the gloves are 93% effective at converting signs into speech. Users can also adjust the pitch and gender of the vocalization to sound more like them. Additionally, the gloves can be stitched into kid-friendly designs such as princess or Spider-Man gloves, reducing the stigma associated with being deaf and having a speech impediment.

Allela's Goal for the Sign-IO Gloves

Allela's ultimate goal is to have two pairs of gloves in every special-needs school in Kenya and eventually help 34 million children worldwide with hearing loss. He has already tested the gloves at a school in rural Migori county in Kenya, where he worked out how to troubleshoot the speed of the sign translation.

Awards and Recognition for the Sign-IO Gloves

The Sign-IO gloves have already received several awards and prizes, including the 2018 grand winner of the "Hardware Trailblazer Award" from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) global finals in New York and a second runner-up at the Royal Academy of Engineering Leaders in Innovation Fellowship in London. Allela is also on the shortlist for the 2019 Africa Prize for Engineering and is one of 16 young Africans who The Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for inventors has shortlisted.

The Future of the Sign-IO Gloves

The Sign-IO gloves are currently still in the prototype phase of development. Still, they have already received significant recognition and prize money, which will help Allela further improve the invention. Once made available to the public, the Sign-IO gloves are expected to generate around $30 billion in revenue by the end of 2024, among the many sensor-based devices.

The Sign-IO gloves are a remarkable invention that has the potential to revolutionize the way deaf and hearing individuals communicate. Roy Allela's goal of making the gloves available in every special needs school is noble; it is hoped that with further development and improvements, the Sign-IO gloves will become a widely-used tool that helps bridge the communication gap between deaf and hearing individuals.

Contributed By Sana Mubashar

I am Sana a fulltime freelance content writer. With 4+ years’ experience and 600+ international clients I am working on different freelancing platforms. My area of expertise are Website landing page, Copy writing, Blog post writing, Affiliate Writing, Product review, Press release and other type of writing.

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