This Engineer Invented Smart Gloves That Turn Sign Language Into Speech

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I have often wondered why more people do not learn sign language as a second language. Thankfully I went to a school that was integrated with a school for the deaf and we were taught sign language.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a pro, but I know enough to be able to help when needed.

Could you imagine being in need of help and no one understanding what you need?

Image: African Curators

Meet Roy Allela, a super young inventor from Kenya! He created the Sign-IO, which is a smart glove that converts sign language movements into audio speech!


His motivation for the project was his young niece that happens to be deaf.

My niece wears the gloves, pairs them to her phone or mine, then starts signing and I’m able to understand what she’s saying. Like all sign language users, she’s very good at lip reading, so she doesn’t need me to sign back,

Roy Allela
Image Roy Allela

As you may know, people who sign can sign REALLY fast and it can be hard to keep up. The glove has been designed to accommodate that as well.

People speak at different speeds and it’s the same with people who sign, so we integrated that into the mobile application so that it’s comfortable for anyone to use it

Roy Allela
Image: African Curators

The Sign-IO gloves connect to an app using Bluetooth. On the app, the users can pick their gender, language, and pitch. The app will vocalize the letters for you!

The smart glove has a 93% accuracy! That is much more accurate than me trying to keep up with my limited knowledge of sign language.

The gloves can also be designed for the user! This is fantastic for children! They can get one that looks like a spider-man glove, or even a princess!

Image: African Curators

Roy won an award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers! He used his prize money to help fund improvements to his amazing creation.

If that isn’t awesome enough, Roy also works for Intel and teaches data science at Oxford University. Roy, you are AMAZING! Imagine what else he will accomplish!

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