Roy Allela, a 25-year old engineer and inventor from Kenya, has created an incredible solution for connecting the communication barrier between deaf and hearing people. He invented the Sign-IO gloves that could translate signed hand movements to audible speech so deaf people can “talk” even to those who don’t understand sign language.
The Sign-IO gloves has sensors mounted on each of the five fingers to determine its movements, even including how much a finger is bent. The gloves are connected via Bluetooth to an Android app that Allela also invented which uses a text-to-speech function to convert the gestures to vocal speech.
Allela was inspired to make the gloves since he and his family attempted to speak with his 6-year-old niece who came into the world hard of hearing. “My niece wears the gloves, sets them to her phone or mine, at that point begins signing and I’m able to understand what she’s saying. Like all sign language users, she’s very good at lip reading, so she doesn’t need me to sign back,” he said in an interview with The Guardian.
This young inventor, who also works for Intel and teaches data science at Oxford University, first launched the gloves at a special needs school in rural Migori county, south-west Kenya. He wants for it to be available in every school for special needs children to assist as many deaf or hearing-impaired children as possible.
Once it has been made available in the public market, Sign-IO gloves will be one of the many sensor-based devices that are “expected to generate revenue of around $30 billion by end of 2024,” according to Global NewsWire.
To find out about Roy Allela, visit www.royallela.com
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