A pair of undergraduates at the University of Washington made a glove that translates gestures in American Sign Language (ASL) into English and speaks it via speakers. The SignAloud glove won them a $10,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize and international attention. Now they’re figuring out how to refine their gadget for social good…and make sure they pass their college exams.
The SignAloud glove captures ASL gestures with sensors that measure everything from XYZ coordinates to the way individual fingers flex or bend. That sensor data is sent via Bluetooth to a nearby computer and fed into coding algorithms that categorize the gestures, which are translated into English and then audibly spoken via speaker. But co-creator Navid Azodi emphasizes that SignAloud is still very much in a prototype phase.
“Keep in mind, we have by no means captured the entire language and we’re nowhere near that. [ASL] is more than just words and phrases, and we know that. It has complex grammar structures. What we eventually want to get is for SignAloud to categorize a majority of the language,” says Azodi.
The two creators, Azodi and fellow sophomore Thomas Pryor, planned and built SignAloud in their dorms and the school’s CoMotion MakerSpace. After a rough first version built on cardboard and string, they put together the current working prototype for about a hundred bucks in parts.
“Many of the sign language translation devices already out there are not practical for everyday use. Some use video input, while others have sensors that cover the user’s entire arm or body,” says Pryor in a UW press release.
Innovating past existing limitations is what earned the team the $10,000 award, which Azodi isn’t sure how they will spend. The money could help pay their tuition or perhaps even get them a nice dinner, Azodi jokes, but refining their gadget is top priority. Both are motivated by SignAloud’s possibilities, both as an input device and an empowerment tool.
“Communication is a fundamental human right,” says Azodi, whose personal experience helped inform the tool. “When I was young, I didn’t actually speak for about seven years of my life. I was seven years old when I finally started to speak. I had that communication barrier for a good amount of time.”
Azodi and Pryor met when they were freshmen. They shared a desire to give back to the world using their engineering talents and considerable experience. Azodi has been a systems intern for NASA, a technology lead for UW Information Technology, and a campus representative for Apple; Pryor has had internships at Raytheon and Boeing, is an undergraduate researcher in the Composite Structures Laboratory, and is a software lead on the Husky Robotics Team.
Before building the next version of SignAloud, Azodi and Pryor are going to consider the critiques they received as news of their grant win went global. Azodi laments that the device was portrayed as a tool that would speak for the speechless.
“[SignAloud] is not something that will speak for them. They do have a voice and they do speak. Honestly, they speak so much more fluidly in dynamic and beautiful ways using their bodies,” says Azodi. “This is more of a tool to break down those barriers between the physical language of ASL and English or Spanish.”
SignAloud could even help translate ASL into other languages, or be used as a pure input device from ASL into a computer, says Azodi. Even in its current state, SignAloud could also work as a teaching tool for folks who want to learn ASL, as it could give students instant feedback on what they were actually signing.
Considering the international feedback they they’ve received, Azodi is determined to make sure the team does its homework to learn the deep syntax of ASL, something they will likely recruit an expert to help them with. Azodi and Pryor knew that using a gadget to translate ASL would be a challenge, but they didn’t anticipate the difficulty they would encounter when it came to tracking the nuances of language. And the critiques they received after SignAloud was publicized by the press astonished them.
“None of my previous experience can compare to being put out into the national spotlight and having people all over the world throwing their critiques and views on it. It opened my eyes to so much more,” says Azodi. “That learning process was one of, if not the most humbling experience. People called it a miracle device, and it’s not. It’s not about helping people; they don’t need help. It’s about how technology can be accessible and inclusive. It’s just a means of building bridges and breaking down barriers.”
Not all the attention the duo received was negative: Thanks to the media coverage, Azodi and Pryor are facing a wealth of partnership and investment offers. But they aren’t rushing headlong into anything. After all, as 19-year-old college sophomores, they still have to worry about normal things. They’ll make progress on SignAloud, but have to work around their exam study schedule.
“The opportunities for something like this are unbelievable, I can’t even categorize where this can go. What is the best option for us using what we know and what we can do?” says Azodi. “I won’t give you a definite answer. We’re just a couple of college students. I just had midterms and we’re worried about how to get in our majors.”
, and the project, codenamed “Blue Lion”, will officially be called ArcaOS 5.0. “The significance of the version number relates to IBM OS/2 4.52 — the last maintenance release of the platform released by IBM in 2001,” reports TechRepublic.
The article discusses the features of ArcaOS like USB bootable installer, USB (1.1 and 2) , ACPI, AHCI, and network card drivers, new OS installer, etc. It will be sold in two editions: ArcaOS Commercial Edition [with 12 months of priority support and updates] and ArcaOS Personal Edition…
Anyone have fond members of OS/2? Are there any Slashdot readers who are still using it?
The Telegraph has started the latest round of a swingeing programme of cutbacks with the departure of senior editorial figures including deputy editor Liz Hunt, arts editor Andrew Pettie; feature writer Harry Wallop; Asia editor Philip Sherwell and foreign chiefs Richard Spencer and Colin Freeman.
The high profile departures are intended to help the publisher balance the books by reducing rents at its Victoria headquarters but they have not been without collateral damage with staff complaining off the record that they have been subjected to ‘targeted assassinations’.
A black mood has permeated the newsroom floor since Telegraph Media Group chief executive Murdoch MacLennan began informing affected staff of his decision, which also included a number of less senior staff.
In an effort to put a positive gloss on the dismissals MacLennan has told remaining staff that he wishes to preside over an ‘employee-friendly’, chiefly through the introduction of flexible working, although further job losses are expected.
A version of WhatsApp which was exclusive to the celebrities, but that was now being opened to normal users. It sounds too good to be true, right? And it is. We are talking about a new online scam, which is promising users to provide free access to a special edition or premium version of the […]
While Microsoft’s Skype software is certainly not the best way to send files to contacts, it is without doubt convenient to do so if you are using the software anyway.
All you need to do is select a contact and the send file icon, pick a file from the local system to transfer it to the contact.
Sharing files seems limited to the Skype desktop program at the moment, the Skype app for Windows supports the sending of images only it seems at this point in time.
Microsoft announced several changes coming to sharing files in Skype for the desktop recently. These were not published on the official Skype blog but only on a support page though which makes it likely that many users missed them.
First the good news: when you share files using Skype, it will automatically sync across all devices that you are using.
This means that downloads are available on mobile devices as well automatically. Microsoft also notes that transfers will resume automatically if the connection is lost for whatever reason so that files need to be downloaded only once.
Bad news is, that Microsoft is limited the size of files that you can share using Skype to 100 Megabyte per file
If you try to send a file that is larger than 100 MB you will get the error message not sent – file is larger than 100.0 MB.
The “learn more” link leads to the support page linked above that details that you cannot share files larger than 100 Megabyte using Skype.
Also, files have a 30-day time limit after which they expire and cannot be downloaded anymore. Files that you have shared that exceed 30-days will show up as file unavailable instead.
Microsoft’s proposed solutions for sharing files larger than 100 Megabyte? OneDrive of course.
This is obviously not as comfortable as sending files directly using Skype, and it is unclear why Microsoft did not integrate the OneDrive option directly into Skype to make this comfortable for users.
Basically, what users need to do know is open OneDrive next to Skype when they want to share files larger than 100 Megabyte, upload the file to their OneDrive account, right-click on it, select share, get the share link, and paste it into Skype chat.
Not nearly as comfortable as sending files directly. Also, some users are experiencing slow uploads to OneDrive making the solution less than ideal for sending large files to contacts who are online at that time.
Skype file transfers limited to 100 MB
Skype file transfers have been limited to 100 Megabyte per file and users will receive the error message not sent – file is larger than 100.0 MB.
Earlier today, Kim Kardashian West collected her first-ever Webby Award for her massive influence on internet culture, fittingly termed the “Break the Internet” award. Limited to just a five-word speech, as is convention at the ceremony, Kardashian powerfully declared: “Nude selfies till I die.”
Just yesterday, a world away in Iran, the country’s cybercrimes court was celebrating its social media crackdown. A state prosecutor triumphantly claimed that the authorities had made several arrests of citizens spreading “immoral” behavior online. Women on Instagram were clearly the main targets of the undercover sting operation, with eight female models in total arrested for posting “un-Islamic” photos in which they were pictured without a hijab. A spokesman for the country’s cybercrimes unit claimed that Iran’s internet had been infiltrated by “foreign” agents, among them Kardashian and the CEO of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, reports local news outlet Iran Wire.
“Ms. Kim Kardashian is a popular fashion model so Instagram’s CEO tells her, ‘make this native,’” said spokesman, Mostafa Alizadeh. “There is no doubt that financial support is involved as well. We are taking this very seriously.”
What sounds like the plot of a bumbling, espionage spoof movie is evidently not a source of amusement in Iran. As part of the digital crackdown, a famous Iranian model, Elham Arab was ordered to appear in front of the Iranian Iranian Revolutionary Court. In a televised hearing, Arab can be seen in a hijab expressing remorse for her modeling career.
Alizadeh’s statement makes it clear that the state is intent on laying the blame on western cultural icons and modes of expression. Kardashian’s rallying cry at the Webbys will likely do little to soften her image in the country, and ease the state’s apprehensive approach to social media.
Neither Kardashian, nor Instagram, have commented on the accusations. Meanwhile, one of the targeted Instagram users (makeup designer, Elnaz Golrokh) is thought to have left Iran along with her husband, male model Hamid Fadaei, at an undetermined date.