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By IAN GARLAND
PUBLISHED: 16:06 EST, 10 July 2012 | UPDATED: 01:52 EST, 11 July 2012
A team of Ukrainian inventors have developed a hi-tech glove capable of converting sign language into speech.
EnableTalk is fitted with a complex network of sensors that recognise hand movements and translate signs – which are then converted into spoken word by a smartphone app.
The inventors have already won an award for their design and hope EnableTalk will improve the quality of life of millions of people around the world with speech and hearing impairments.
A prototype of the gloves, which enable sign language to be converted into speech
The hi-tech glove comes complete with flex sensors, touch sensors, gyroscops and accelerometers, as well as solar cells that help keep it powered.
It even allows users to create and program their own signs, which the app will then recognise.
EnableTalk is still in a prototype stage, but it’s already winning admirers in high places.
The project was a winner at the recent Microsoft Imagine Cup in Australia, a competition to promote technical innovations.
In action: One of EnableTalk’s inventors gives a demonstration
And the team behind it are confident they’ll end up with a product that will change the lives of people with speech disabilities.
Programmer Maxim Osika,said: ‘We were inspired to help our friends who are hearing – and speech-impaired to have the ability to communicate like everyone else.’
That means creating a device that’s revolutionary and affordable.
EnableTalk’s inventors claim the hardware for their prototype costs just £50 – meaning they’ll be able to offer a finished product that doesn’t break the banks.