Submitted by Alan Thomas, Deaf Services Coordinator
Life can be very hard for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. There’s the frustration that comes when people simply have trouble communicating with you. Unfortunately, for many of the 370 million deaf people in the world, their inability to communicate is often perceived as an intellectual handicap which is likely preventing some very brilliant minds in our society from reaching their full potential. Ryan Hait-Campbell, CEO and founder of Alameda, California based MotionSavvy, is one of those brilliant minds. He, along with his colleagues who are all also deaf, have developed a groundbreaking technology that combines the latest in motion sensing and mobile computing called the UNI.
UNI consists of three parts: a tablet computer, a specially-designed smart case, and a mobile app. The smart case contains hardware from Leap Motion and consists of a couple of cameras to track the location of both the user’s hands and fingers. The app, which is powered by the tablet, translates the hand and finger movements of sign language into audible speech or text displayed on the screen. The app in turn can also translate spoken word into written text for the deaf person to read.
UNI does more than simply interpret; it also learns. Just like spoken language, sign language consists of various “dialects” and “accents”. UNI learns your own style of signing as you train it to improve its accuracy. It will also grow smarter through a database of new gestures and terms that are “crowdsigned” by its users.
For more information, visit www.motionsavvy.com.
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