New Glove Translates Sign Language Into Text

Japanese researchers at  Osaka and Shinshu Universities have been working together to develop a gadget that automatically translates finger spelling into text. The prototype product, called “Fingual,” consists of a glove with magnetic fingertips. As you move your hands to form letters, the glove senses the changes in the magnetic fields and translates the movements into words.

Everybody forms letters somewhat differently, so for the highest level of accuracy, users must program the glove themselves, to recognize their specific style of signing. Once that’s done, the glove is capable of translating gestures with a 90% accuracy rate, at least while indoors.  If you use a glove programmed to understand someone else’s gestures, the accuracy rate will be lower, but still around 80% to 90%.

Fingual was demonstrated on a computer at the conference, but the final product is expected to be compatible with smart phones as well, for email and sending text messages on the go.

Why create a glove to translate finger spelling when people could just use the keyboard on their computer to enter text?  One of the researchers working on the project explained:

“For people who use sign language, I think it may be easier to enter their sign language as text. We started this research because we thought that, if email on a mobile phone could be written directly through finger language, rather than pressing buttons, the finger language could also be translated directly.”

Fingual is a neat little device, at any rate. You can see it in action in the video below:

6 replies
  1. Mark
    Mark says:

    In my opinion, I think voice detection is more useful. It’s faster and easier to use, and requires no special glove that I assume you have to purchase.

  2. Christina Torres
    Christina Torres says:

    Wow talk about letting your fingers do the talking! Very interesting. Some concerns though like what about grammar and spelling? Also, if it will work with smart phones it would be necessary for there to be an attachment hand? It sounds slightly complicated, however, as a prototype I’m sure they will work out the kinks 😀

    • Caroline Mikolajczyk
      Caroline Mikolajczyk says:

      Hello Christina, sorry for my late reply…Im glad you liked the article 🙂 I’m afraid i cant really answer your questions as i’m not sure myself, i know it’s at the experimentation stage at the moment, so hopefully, we will know more in the future!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] of a device to translate sign language into speech. The EnableTalk gloves are similar in concept to this Fingual sign language translation glove, but with a few significant improvements: they translate sign language directly to speech instead […]

  2. […] by Alison Kroulek on March 15, 2012 Machine translation has proven a difficult nut to crack, even for written and spoken languages. That’s even more true for sign languages, though we’ve written about some previous innovations in the field like the Fingual translation glove. […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.