Pull on two electronic armbands (that look like sweatbands), start signing to a hearing person and then wait for their face to change as the realise they can understand you. Marketing students in Stockholm, Sweden, have developed an app to help Deaf and hearing people communicate quickly and efficiently. That’s what the advert suggests, anyway.
When a Deaf person wears the armbands, technology inside them will analyze their arm movement and then send information to an app on their phone. This process is called electromyography. The app will then translate the movement and change the information into spoken word, so a hearing person can understand.
The students have made a video to show how it might work. (Google isn’t involved.)
We must tell you, the app hasn’t been released to the public because it was made by a student who wanted to enter it into a technology competition, however it’s received a lot of attention, so it could be something we see in the future.
What worries us is that the advert says sign language will be translated in ‘real- time’ – as the person signs, the words will be translated. What does that mean exactly? Does that mean the app will not understand BSL grammar and syntax? Will signers need to use SSE, not BSL? Also, will translations be correct, or more like automatic subtitles we put up with?
We don’t know if this app will become available, but if it does, it will be interesting to see if it’s in ASL, BSL or any other sign language.
Image Credit: MattK1979