Too good not to share, this is the perfect gift this Christmas for the guy who has everything. Hope it helps (I’ve already ordered one).
People who are deaf or hard of hearing and use sign language to communicate may soon get some extra help when it comes to translation, thanks to a sign language translation ring under development by a group of designers from Asia University.
The device consists of a set of rings and two bracelets that sense and interpret finger, hand and wrist movements made by the user. The signs are translated into words, which are relayed to the user’s conversation partner via a speaker. The device also translates spoken words into writing, which is shown on an LED display on the bracelet.
The sign language ring won the 2013 Red Dot Design award. If it makes it through the development phase and out to the general public, it could provide a streamlined, convenient way to help the deaf and hard-of-hearing interact with the hearing world.
However, as with many high-tech translation concepts, the devil is in the details. Questions remain about how accurately the device will be able to translate sign language. As it stands now, it’s certainly not a replacement for a human interpreter. As Howard Rosenblum, the CEO of US organization the National Association for the Deaf, explained to ABC News:
“American Sign Language encompasses more than what would be measured in the wrist and fingers. ASL relies on wrist movements, handshapes, finger-spelling, body movements and facial expressions. The National Association of the Deaf encourages the developers of this emerging technology to work with the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, and the hearing community, to ensure that their innovative product meets our needs.”
Despite these drawbacks, if the Sign Language Ring makes it into production, it could be a welcome tool for everyday situations like shopping. What do you think of it?
Photo credit: © Gemenacom | Dreamstime.com
Last month, we wrote about the potentially dire consequences of the UK’s foreign language shortage for our economy. How do we get more people to learn another language? As it turns out, the common housecat may hold the key.
Say what? According to research performed by a company called Memrise, people retain information better when it is presented in the form of cute cat pictures. As Memrise COO Ben Whately explained to the BBC:
“We wanted to know what kinds of visual mnemonics were most effective at helping people to learn fast. The pattern began to emerge that pictures of cats always featured disproportionately among the most effective.”
Now, you can channel your obsession with funny cat memes into something productive: learning another language. Read more
The eCommerce Futures Conference recently brought together speakers from the likes of fashion retailers Coast and Hobbs and pure-plays such as sex toy specialist Lovehoney to discuss their latest endeavours in international expansion.
Matt Curry, head of eCommerce at Lovehoney, said that for eCommerce operations to work successfully in new territories it is important to “do the stuff a start-up would do”. Established retailers, he said, should not be afraid of looking at the basics of retailing when entering foreign markets such as are you communicating with your customers in their language.
Before you commit yourself to expanding into a foreign country, you must test the market. Travel to the country, hire a local expert and visit similar businesses and companies, try and get a feel for the tacit knowledge. Make sure that your business model will survive and even thrive in this new place and be certain that you are fully aware of any cultural differences between your way of life and your chosen country. Read more
Translating food packaging isn’t easy – we should know because we do over a thousand products a week. These guys have got it so wrong its funny but could you imagine your product on shelf saying something stupid in a different language? Nor could we, give us a call and we’ll sort it out for you.
For now… here are the top ten disasters we’ve seen this week. In no particular order… Read more
It’s easy to advocate for the importance of foreign language learning in warm, fuzzy terms; for example, it helps us connect with other people and it helps us understand people from different cultures. Foreign language learning does help us do these things, but a new report from The British Council reminds us that there is a another, more concrete reason to value foreign languages: money.
According to the report, the UK economy may take a hit in future years because there simply aren’t enough people speaking what the Council identified as the ten most important foreign languages: Spanish, Arabic, French, Mandarin Chinese, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian and German. The report calls these languages “of crucial importance for the UK’s prosperity, security and influence in the world over the next 20 years,” but even the most commonly taught languages on the list are not commonly spoken by most UK adults. Read more
A Japanese company’s new mascot gained them a boatload of Internet attention last month- but probably not the kind they were aiming for.
In October, Fukushima Industries introduced a new mascot in the form of a cutesy flying egg with an indeterminate gender identity and an eerily chipper demeanor. The mascot’s name? Fukuppy, which was apparently an attempt to meld the company name with the last 3 letters of the English word “happy.” Read more
It’s official- autumn is here! Planning on taking a vacation soon? Here are 5 of the best fall festivals (or festivals that take place in the fall) from around the world:
What: River Festivals
Where: Laos and Thailand
When: During the full moon at the end of the rainy season, in late October or early November
During the rainy season, Buddhist monks undergo an austere three-month retreat that is often compared to the Christian period of Lent. In Laos and Thailand, river festivals are held to celebrate the end of this period. In Laos, this biggest celebration is in the city of Vientiane, along the Mekong River. Boat races are held during the day; at night, residents hold candlelit processions and release tiny boats filled with candles and incense into the river.
These celebrations coincide with a nighttime phenomenon known as the “Naga fireballs.” Orbs of flame shoot out of the Mekong river to amaze and delight spectators. Locals believe the fireballs are created by the Naga (river serpent) who lives in the river. They may or may not be a natural phenomenon, but they are impressive nonetheless.
What: Festival du Vent
Where: Calvi, Haute-Corse, France
When: 23-27 October, 2013
The Festival du Vent is an annual celebration of the autumn wind. Enjoy art, concerts, theatre, kites and wind-related sports like paragliding, windsurfing and sailing. Read more
Want to learn Manx? There’s an app for that! Last year, the Manx Heritage Foundation released an app designed for Manx language learners. At the time, Manx Language Development Officer Adrian Cain told the BBC that ”Increasing numbers of people are showing an interest in the language both on the island and around the world. We felt it was a great opportunity to use modern technology to help its revival.”
It appears he was correct, as one year later, the app has been downloaded by more than 4,000 people, according to the BBC. It is available on iTunes and Google Play, and has excellent reviews on both marketplaces. According to the app’s description on Google Play
The app will benefit anyone wishing to start using Manx as well as those who understand some of the language but who would like to refresh their language skills. With its voice-recording and playback function, the exercises encourage you to speak the language by answering questions orally and comparing your answers to model responses.
There are ten units for users to work through, and the Isle of Man TT Races are used as a theme to make studying more interesting. Read more
To remain competitive, the UK desperately needs to improve language education. But the thought of learning a second language sounds incredibly intimidating to many people. What to do?
A new campaign launched just last week aims to make language learning seem more attainable to everyone, not just top-ranked students. The 1000 Words campaign, organized by Speak to the Future, encourages everyone to learn just 1000 words in another language, instead of trying to become completely fluent. According to the Speak to the Future website, 1000 words will be enough to get to you to a basic level of proficiency (level A2 on the Common European Framework of Reference).
At this level of proficiency, you can handle basic, routine tasks and situations. So, you would be competent enough to get out of the “holiday bubble” that often keeps native English speakers from connecting with the local culture on vacation, or perhaps to handle some business-related tasks like waiting on customers. Read more