An electronic glove that can turn American Sign Language gestures into spoken words or text, designed to help the deaf communicate more easily with the hearing world, is under development.
Researcher Jose Hernandez-Rebollar of George Washington University has demonstrated that his “AcceleGlove” can translate the rapid hand movements used to make the alphabet and some of the words and phrases of sign language.
His is not the only such experimental device; the military is exploring similar technology to silently help soldiers in combat. But Hernandez-Rebollar says his invention goes further than others because it also can translate into spoken words and simple sentences some of the more complex arm and body motions of ASL.
The 34-year-old native of Mexico came to Washington through the Fulbright Program, which makes grants for graduate students, teachers and others to study abroad. His field is electrical engineering, and the sensor-studded glove was his doctoral engineering project.
Not deaf himself, Hernandez-Rebollar said his invention was driven by a desire to help others live fuller lives.
“I want to produce something that deaf people can use in everyday life,” he said.