(Credit: Asia University)
A concept bracelet and rings set uses motion sensors and an LED display to translate sign language.
This recipient of a Red Dot design award may be just a concept, but it has a lot of potential. Designed by students at Asia University, the Sign Language Ring — inspired by Buddhist prayer beads — aims to solve the problem of communication with the hearing impaired.
It consists of a bracelet and a set of six rings that snap on to the side. When deployed, three rings per hand, they use motion sensors to track the motions of the wearer's hands and fingers, translating the sign language into spoken words, which are then played by a speaker on the bracelet.
The wearer can also pre-record signing motions, customising it to the wearer's particular gestures.
The bracelet also has a microphone inside. This hears words spoken to the wearer and translates them into text, which is displayed on an LED screen on the top of the bracelet.
We already have text-to-speech and speech-to-text technologies, so that integration seems fairly simple to arrange. There might be a few more issues with the motion sensing, but by integrating the ability to customise the Sign Language Ring to the wearer, the designers have mitigated the error margin.
Still, some research and development would doubtless be required to bring it from concept to reality. We hope that happens — it could prove an incredible leap forward in communication for the hearing impaired.