EnableTalk wins Microsoft prize for sign language interpretation software

AUTHOR: Inavate

A team of students from the Ukraine has won the top prize at the 2012 Microsoft Imagine Cup for its sensory glove system called EnableTalk. The system detects the hand movements of sign language and transmits that information to a mobile telephone app, which then interprets the movements and outputs digitised speech, translating the signs for those who don’t know sign language.

Equipped with flex sensors, touch sensors, gyroscopes and accelerometers, the gloves work with a Bluetooth-enabled Windows Phone and Microsoft’s Speech and Bing APIs to translate hand gestures. Team member Osika Maxim said that the idea to develop the gloves came about from needing to interact with hearing-impaired athletes at their school in Ukraine.

Other products that are more or less comparable to EnableTalk have fewer sensors, use more wires and aren’t powered by software, still costing around $1,200. The team said that the parts for EnableTalk prototypes only cost about $75 per device. Over 350 students from 75 countries participated this year with the Ukrainian team being awarded a grand prize of $25,000 for placing first.