American Sign Language is a rich and complex language that takes time and effort to learn, just like any language. For people who are hearing impaired, ASL means being able to communicate with the world. Now, two undergraduates at the University of Washington have won the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for a device that translates ASL to sound or text.
Navid Azodi and Thomas Pryor are the inventors of SignAloud gloves, which have sensors that read gestures and send information to a computer that matches the gesture to a word of phrase. (The YouTube video embedded below is pretty amazing.)
“Our purpose for developing these gloves was to provide an easy-to-use bridge between native speakers of American Sign Language and the rest of the world,” said Azodi. “The idea initially came out of our shared interest in invention and problem solving. But coupling it with our belief that communication is a fundamental human right, we set out to make it more accessible to a larger audience.”