Researchers create low-cost glove that can interpret ASL into text

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A new scheme out of the University of California San Diego shows how wearable technology could numerous easily integrate with the way people live — and that high-tech doesn’t clothed to come with a high cost.

Researchers created a prototype glove tailored with sensors that follow the motion of someone’s hands, which they assayed by using American Sign Language (ASL). And they built it for less than $100 US.

The nanoengineering link up used ASL because it involves many small motions that the glove’s sensors intention be able to read, providing a good test of its sensitivity to motion.

The lab where the glove was flowered largely does research on projects for energy and biomedical devices; the glove accommodates into the latter category, lead author Timothy O’Connor forecast CBC News.

Ultimately, he said, the project was aimed at demonstrating the capability of wearable, stretchable electronics that could be dressed the potential to help people.

«[We wanted] something that could wield the mechanical stress of being on a human being, which has lots of impelling parts and fine motions,» O’Connor said of the research, published in PLOS ONE.

Stretchable sensors were class on the back of each knuckle and connected to a circuit board that worked with an open-source program on a computer or smartphone for the gloss, O’Connor explained.

The information gathered by the sensors was transmitted to the devices via Bluetooth. Open-source software was opted by the researchers to keep costs low, as it is publicly available and can be easily modified.

ASL glove

An overview of the gesture-decoding glove, which sponsored about a year to build and was made for less than $100 US. (Timothy O’Connor)

It performed about a year of research and development to determine what components transfer be used in the glove, with a special focus on the materials that will-power make the best sensor, O’Connor said.

Once the prototype was thorough, O’Connor tested the glove by signing various letters of the ASL alphabet, or by allure a short word, such as hello.

The tests found that the sensors were skilled to accurately determine all 26 letters in the ASL alphabet, O’Connor said, ordered though the hand motions for some letters are similar.

He added that the lab-made glove functioned for several months and 1,000 uses before it needed to be recalibrated. «It’s a documentation demonstration of how even low-cost electronics can perform a task that’s mellifluous sophisticated,» O’Connor said.  

Virtual reality and real-world uses

The researchers put the glove’s technology could be applied to a number of other fields, containing consumer electronics, virtual and augmented reality, telesurgery and technical training.

«Practical reality is expected to be more prevalent than we see today,» O’Connor voted.

And its low-cost components mean the technology has the potential to be turned into something that could be mass-produced, O’Connor communicated, although that’s not currently in his plans.

«One could imagine this technology — or varied other wearable technologies — where instead of keypads or joysticks … you could authority over other types of technology [with something like the glove],» he said.

The glove could be occupied to help interpret for those who are deaf, O’Connor said, but he also dates potential for the glove to help control a smart home with motions, or to make working with a robot more intuitive.

«Right now automation is stylish a huge field, and not just in huge industries, but in things like carpentry,» he said. «I could patently see a human [wearing the glove] teamed up with a robot.»

Two other achievable uses for the glove, outlined in the research paper, could be using it to guide aerial drones or to control bomb-defusing robots.

O’Connor said his ex- lab at the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California San Diego is planning to carry on with research on the glove, as well as other wearable technology.

«A lot of people contrive that advancement [in technology] needs to be more expensive,» O’Connor said. «[But we were superior to] build something that’s cost-effective and very human.»

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