June 30 (UPI) -- A team of University of California, Los Angeles, scientists announced they have developed a glove that translates American Sign Language into speech in real time.
The UCLA team, who published their research in the journal Nature Electronics, said the glove contains sensors in the digits that identify each word, phrase or letter in American Sign Language and transmits them wirelessly to a smartphone app that translates them at a rate of one word per second.
The device also includes optional sensors attached to a user's face to register facial expressions used in ASL.
"Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them," said lead researcher Jun Chen, an assistant professor of bioengineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. "In addition, we hope it can help more people learn sign language themselves."
Chen said the gloves and facial sensors were developed to be more lightweight and comfortable than previous efforts to translate sign language via machinery. She said previous attempts were criticized as too bulky for practical use.