Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Technology ...Portable Sign Language Translator (PSLT)

Many thanks to Andrew W. for bringing this upcoming technology gizmo to my attention! Sometimes it is hard to catch up with the ever-evolving technological advances. But here is something worthwhile to know!

The 'Portable Sign Language Translator', as its name suggests, translates sign language to text and allows you to make use of it nearly everywhere. This device is the product of a group of scientists in Aberdeen, UK.

Here is the link to the article from the BBC website:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-17297489

Technology aimed at translating sign language into text is being developed by Aberdeen scientists.

The portable sign language translator (PSLT) would use the camera on devices such as laptops and phones.

An app would then translate the movements into text which can be read by people, who may not understand sign language.

Computing scientists at Technabling, a spin-out company of the University of Aberdeen, are behind the technology.

Their signs are immediately translated into text which can be read by the person they are conversing with”

It is hoped this could transform how sign language users - from the profoundly deaf to those who have lost hearing in later life - communicate.

One of the main focuses is to help young deaf people improve employment opportunities.

Dr Ernesto Compatangelo, a lecturer in computing science at the University of Aberdeen, and founder of Technabling, said: "The aim of the technology is to empower sign language users by enabling them to overcome the communication challenges they can experience, through portable technology.

"Their signs are immediately translated into text which can be read by the person they are conversing with.

"The intent is to develop an application - an app in smart phone terms - that is easily accessible and could be used on different devices."

He added: "One of the most innovative and exciting aspects of the technology is that it allows sign language users to actually develop their own signs for concepts and terms they need to have in their vocabulary."

Sign language users have helped the development and testing of the product since its conception.

Local sign language users interested in becoming involved with the ongoing development can get in touch via pslt@technabling.co.uk

It is hoped the technology could be available as a product by 2013.

* I am still nodding my head long after I read the article* I imagine that BSL would be used in its testing but as the article states about sign language users being able to develop their own signs for concepts for their personal vocabulary, ASL and International Sign Language could be used on this app.

And for those residing around/close to Aberdeen, they are looking for volunteers to participate in their ongoing project as stated in the last paragraph in the article.

So in essence, it's time to get smart...

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