US software company Microsoft recently developed a new cost-effective sign language translator that converts signs into spoken and written language – and vice versa.
In collaboration with researchers in China, Microsoft created the Kinect Sign Language Translator, a prototype system that understands the gestures of sign language and converts them to spoken and written languageand vice versa.
The translator uses a computer and a Kinect camera that recognises signing gestures, then gives a spoken and written translation of languages for people who can hear.
The system captures a conversation both sides: the deaf person is shown signing, with a written and spoken translation being rendered in real-time, while the system takes the hearing person’s spoken words and turns them into accurate, understandable signs. The system takes a person’s spoken wordsand translate them into accurate signs carried out by an on-screen avatar.The Kinect’s sensors read a user’s body position and movements and, with the help of a computer, translate them into commands. The project was collaboration between the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing Union University, and Microsoft Research Asia.