Man invents glove to translate sign language to audio to help niece

Over 30-million people around the world rely on sign language to communicate, but there’s a language barrier when they try to talk to someone who doesn’t use or understand sign language. Roy Allela knows first-hand how difficult it can be because his six-year-old niece was born deaf and it was a challenge for her to communicate with her family, who didn’t know sign language.

But his desire to communicate and connect with his niece drove Allela to get creative. The 25-year-old from Kenya had a breakthrough and invented smart gloves that convert sign language movements into audio speech. The gloves – named Sign-IO – have flex sensors stitched on to each finger. The sensors quantify the bend of the fingers and process the letter being signed. The gloves are then paired via Bluetooth to a mobile phone application that Allela also developed, which then vocalizes the letters.

Allela was recognized for his game-changing invention by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers during their Innovation Showcase competition. He’s living proof that necessity is the mother of invention.

 

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