Leading the Way with Innovation: Wearable Sensors to Translate Sign Language

Approximately 20 percent of Americans report some degree of hearing loss and over 6 million are profoundly deaf. Now, wearable sensors could one day depict the gestures in sign language and translate them into English, administrating a high-tech solution to communication difficulties between deaf people and those who don’t comprehend sign language.

Science writingLeading this study is engineers at the Texas A&M University, who are currently developing wearable sensors that can sense movement and muscle activity in a person’s arm. Although still in the prototype stage, the device can recognize around 40 ASL signs with 96 percent accuracy. The device operates by interpreting the gestures a person is creating by using two distinct sensors: one that responds to the motion of the wrist and the other to the muscular movements in the arm. A wireless program then  obtains this data and converts the information into the English translation.

The sensors are worn on the user’s wrist and the information collected is sent via Bluetooth to a laptop. Eventually, the goal is to abolish the need for the laptop by integrating a small computer directly to the device. The computer could then transfer the English words to another person’s phone, so they can read what their partner is saying. Roozbeh Jafari, the engineer who led the project, wants the final version to be small and attractive, with the end goal of making the entire system fit in a watch.

Undoubtedly, innovation such as this will make a huge difference in the lives of deaf people and how we interact with the world around us. Whether you’re creating communication devices for the deaf or researching agricultural prototypes, each company has unique levels of research and development utilized within their business. The government encourages businesses within the U.S. to do this by allowing business owners to offset research and development with R&D Tax Credits. Posing the question, could you be claiming cash back for research and development projects you’ve invested in? Innovation can create new opportunities for your business and allow for the creation of new products or solutions. Contact us today to see if you are eligible to claim the R&D Tax Relief.

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