Let my hands do the talkingTuesday, July 17th, 2012 by Roberto Saracco
In Italy we are used to gesticulate as we speak. And we understand very well each other. However, we do not understand, in general, the hand language used by people who cannot speak. And this applies, of course, to most people in the world.
Why can’t technology come to our help? Indeed, this is what three Ukrainian students have been pondering and, presto, they come up with a solution. A pair of gloves with embedded sensors that can relay the movements of the hands and fingers to a computer for a translation of gestures into voice.
They called their invention “enabletalk” and enter it into the Imagine Cup 2012 competition that was held few days ago in Sydney …. an they won!, The competition is promoted by Microsoft and targeted to young inventors who are asked to use technology to solve real problems.
In the picture on the side you can see the sensors they have embedded in each glove to be able to report each type of movement to the computer for analyses and translation in spoken words.
The sensors, 15 in each glove, plus an accelerometer, a compass and a gyroscope, are connected to an embedded controller that communicate with the computer via Bluetooth using a cell phone as an intermediary (you do not want to lug a computer around as you walk but you will have your phone with you).
The sensors are powered by a lithium battery that is recharged using a solar panel sewn on each glove.
Take a look at the video clip…
Besides being a very useful invention, it provides us with a clear example of the kind of evolution we can expect in the future years in the area of interfaces. They are likely to provide us with more and more seamless ways of interaction.