Home > Past Articles > Robotic Hand Translates Speech into Sign Language

Robotic Hand Translates Speech into Sign Language

June 20, 2007

“Robot educators Keita Matsuo and Hirotsugu Sakai have created a robot hand that translate the spoken word into sign language for the deaf. From the article: ‘A microchip in the robot recognizes the 50-character hiragana syllabary and about 10 simple phrases such as “ohayo” (good morning) and sends the information to a central computer, which sends commands to 18 micromotors in the joints of the robotic hand, translating the sound it hears into sign language.'”


Also, Fookem and Bug found this past article relating to signing Robotic hand, read on:

June 15, 2001
Teen shows design at CU – Electronic glove translates sign language into text
By Christina Eisert, For the Daily Camera

Ryan Patterson, 17, likes hanging out with his friends, and “all the regular sports” that kids his age enjoy. He also dabbles in electronics. Well, as the winner of all three top honors at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, Calif., he is a little more than a dabbler.Ryan, a Grand Junction high school senior, has invented a glove that translates American Sign Language into text. The written words appear on a computer screen that can be carried around in a pocket. The invention has earned Ryan more than $216,000 in cash and scholarships, as well as a trip to Sweden to present the sign translator to a group of Noble laureates. Ryan spent much of Thursday participating in research presentations at the University of Colorado`s Center for Lifelong Learning and Design at the University of Colorado, where he presented his sign translator. He came home from San Jose with the Intel Young Scientist Scholarship Award, the Glen T. Seaborg Nobel Prize Visit Award, the Intel Best of Category Award and nine other prizes. Last year, he also won the Best of Category, with a low-cost robot designed to search buildings in case of an emergency. Ryan said he created the search tool with Columbine in mind. By third grade, Ryan`s teachers were aware of his talent for electronics. He was introduced to John McConnell, a retired Los Alamos National Laboratories physicist and director of the Western Colorado Math and Science Center. McConnell became Ryan`s mentor. “All the basic electronics I learned from John,” Ryan said. McConnell said Ryan would come to his house at 9:30 on Saturday morning and wouldn`t leave until 5 p.m. “He`s very focused on where he wants to go, and the drive he has,” McConnell said.The sign-language translator is a golf glove fitted with finger sensors, wrist sensors and a circuit board sewn in by McConnell`s wife. It works on both the right and left hands, and translates letters as they are signed, displaying them on either a laptop computer screen or a tiny portable LCD screen.

The user “trains” the sensors to recognize signs as letters,which appear on the screen. “Everyone signs a little differently,” Ryan said. So the glove is trained over and over again, and “it gets smarter each time,” he says.

Ryan got the idea while sitting in Burger King, where he watched a group of teens attempting to order their meals using sign language. All had to rely on a single adult translator to place their orders. “I can only imagine how bad it would be, as a teenager my age, to have to have an adult follow you around,” Ryan said.

He says the glove is not meant to replace human translators. It translates the alphabet only and is intended to be used to make users of sign language more independent in the classroom and the community. The glove is “a little bit tedious,” he said, and he said he wants to work with a human translator in the lab to “really train it” to be more accurate.

He has applied for a patent and hopes to find a manufacturer for the glove. He is also considering adding a text-to-speech program, so that the glove will translate sign language into spoken word.

Ryan works 15 to 20 hours a week during the school year and full time in the summer at Thermo Automation, with engineers who design robotic equipment. He also must take some time to sift through the scholarships he has been offered from several universities. The University of Colorado also made attempts to woo him to the computer science department`s Cognitive Lever Team — a part of the Center for Lifelong Learning and Design. But before he goes to college, there is next year`s science fair.

Electronics is “not interesting unless you can make something that helps people,” Ryan said. “You might as well not use electronics, unless you can help people out.”

Story provided courtesy of the Daily Camera.

Categories: Past Articles
  1. dimsum
    June 27, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    Welcome to Terminator World!

  2. July 14, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Wow thats crazy.

  3. October 10, 2010 at 2:23 am

    Do you need any tools?

  4. March 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm

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