Gesture-recognition system can translate sign language into text — and back again

Voice-based dictation tools may be old news from in terms of technology, but not everyone is able to fully take advantage of them. For deaf people who use signing as their primary means of communication, available options are far more limited. That’s even more frustrating when you consider the challenges that may confront a person trying to converse with folks who are not proficient in signing.

A Dallas-based startup is setting out to set things right, though. Called KinTrans, the team has developed smart tech capable of translating sign language into voice and text, and voice taken to text or sign language automatically.

The results allow signers and non-signers to communicate together in their own languages, effectively, effortlessly, and instantaneously.

“What makes this technology exciting is the ability to open up conversations between signers and speakers in the marketplace, workplace, schools, health care, and civic centers,” Catherine Bentley, cofounder and business development officer at KinTrans, told Digital Trends. “Traditionally, communicating in these settings has been difficult; requiring friends or family who sign and interpret, or professional interpreters on-site or off-site through video, and even using pen and paper. None of these dependencies are scalable — plus they lack privacy and independence for the signer.”

KinTrans’ tech relies on a 3D camera which tracks the movement of a signer’s hands and body when they sign out words. When requested, it can then translate the signed words into written English (or, currently, Arabic, although additional languages will follow in the future). Alternatively, voice can be translated into signed words communicated by an animated avatar on the screen. According to its creators, the system is already able to recognize thousands of signed words with an accuracy of around 98 percent.

At present, Bentley said that a beta version has been rolled out, and is being used in a variety of service and point-of-sale environments. This is available in both American Sign Language and Arabic Union Sign Language.

“As KinTrans grows, other uses and applications will be developed so that it becomes a standard deaf communication platform, hosting millions of conversations in a variety of public and private settings, online and offline,” she said.

Sign us up!


How Razer forged the Blade 15, the slim gaming laptop nobody else could build

With the recent launch of the Blade 15, Razer ushered in a new design language that's cleaner and more angular. We recently visited Razer's San Francisco, California design studio to learn more about Razer's approach to design.

Spider-Man’s accessibility options, from the people who benefit from them

We spoke with a group of gamers about Marvel's Spider-Man accessibility options and the current state of the industry towards them.

Edit, sign, append, and save with 12 of the best PDF editors

There are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, and though the selection is robust, finding a solid solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here, we've rounded up best PDF editors, so you can edit no matter your budget or OS.

Windows improves handwriting-recognition skills at the peril of users’ security

A Windows file that is designed to help improve the platform's ability to translate your handwritten notes into readable text may be a security concern. One researcher found it contained passwords and email contents.
Emerging Tech

Robot jellyfish could be used to patrol fragile coral reefs

Could schools of robotic jellyfish soon be patrolling the world’s oceans, monitoring fragile environments such as coral reefs? A team of United States researchers certainly thinks so.
Emerging Tech

Versatile robotic skin gives stuffed horse, other inanimate objects some giddyup

Researchers at Yale University have developed a new sensor-packed robot skin that can be wrapped around inanimate objects, such as toys, to transform them into functioning robots.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Click-to-brew beer, comfy headlamps, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

JackRabbot 2 is Stanford’s friendly new campus-roaming social robot

JackRabbot 2 is a robot developed by researchers at Stanford University -- designed to navigate around the campus, while carrying out friendly interactions with the humans around it.
Emerging Tech

New sustainable plan to mitigate climate change involves… a hot dog cooker?

Chemists have demonstrated a new, energy-efficient method of pulling carbon dioxide directly from the air. The secret ingredients? An air humidifier and a solar-powered hot dog cooker.
Emerging Tech

Removing ‘zombie cells’ in the brain could help battle the effects of dementia

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have demonstrated how the removal of so-called "zombie cells" can help reverse the effects of dementia-style cognitive decline in mice. Here's what they did.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s planet hunter satellite gets first hit in its search for another Earth

NASA's planet hunter satellite TESS has discovered a new Earth-like planet. At only 62 light-years distant, the new find is much closer than the Kepler Mission's 2015 exoplanet discovery -- that one was 155 light-years distant.
Emerging Tech

From flying for fun to pro filmmaking, these are the best drones you can buy

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

New mask-mounted head-up display gives Navy combat divers tactical advantage

Divers are often forced to work in low-light conditions where visibility is limited or all-but nonexistent. In order to help solve this problem, the Navy has developed a new head-up display known as Shadow Nav.
Emerging Tech

Roll over, SpotMini — here comes the ALMA robo-dog

If two robo-dogs met on the street, would one try to sniff the mechanical components at the rear of the other? We have no idea, but with at least two different rob-dogs now making real advances, we may soon find out.