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Technology capable of turning signs into text set to "empower" sign language users

03 Apr 2012

Scientists at Technabling, an off-shoot company of the University of Aberdeen, are developing new technology that is capable of reading sign language and turning it into written words, according to a report from the University of Aberdeen (March 12th).

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If perfected, the portable sign language translator (PSLT) could allow those withhearing lossto converse quickly on different devices. It would read sign language movements using the camera on equipment such as phones and laptops then an application, or app, would immediately translate those movements into text.

PSLT technology developers hope that the device will revolutionize the communication process for people who use sign language.

The main objective, according to Aberdeen University lecturer and founder of Technabing, Dr Ernesto Compatangelo, is to improve employment opportunities for young deaf people. However, the device could benefit everyone who uses sign language, including those who have experienced age-related hearing loss.

The product, which has been developed with the help of sign language users, is anticipated to be available by 2013. It will not only be able to use the British and American Sign Languages, but will also have a customisable sign language option.

Commenting on the potential benefits of the development, Dr Compatangelo 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".

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