These gloves translate sign language to speech in real time. Software engineer Roy Allela wanted to create something that would let his deaf niece communicate with people who can’t sign. The gloves are controlled by an app where users can switch between different languages, voices, gender, and the actual pitch of the translator.

Allela, who is formerly an INTEL developer, founded the company Sign-IO, who’s goal is to help the 30 million around the world who have speech impairments and rely on sign language every day. The idea is simple, but the execution and technology in the production is anything but.

“My niece wears the gloves, pairs them with her phone or mine, then starts signing. I’m able to understand what she’s saying,” Allela told The Guardian newspaper.

He also stated that the most important part of the project was to make sure the gloves could keep up with the speed of the signer.

“People speak at different speeds and it’s the same with people who sign – some are really fast, others are slow. So we integrated that into the mobile application so that it’s comfortable for anyone to use,” he continued.

Since the prototype has been in some sort of a BETA test (basically Allela using it with his niece) the gloves have shown a 93 percent success rate. Which is very good, considering the gloves aren’t even close to a production phase yet.

There is no talk about the Sign-IO gloves being sold to the public, but they have already received recognition for the sign language gloves from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), which is the biggest organisation for mechanical engineers. On top of that Allela is now on the shortlist for the 2019 Africa Prize for Engineering.

So at least the gloves are getting some press and recognition for their innovation, and hopefully one day these things can be purchased for everyday use.

[H/T ThisIsAfrica]