As society becomes increasingly accessible for the hearing impaired, which we already briefly touched on in a previous blog post, tech is making great strides to help close the gap. Here are a few examples of recent technologies specifically designed to make the lives of the deaf easier.
Google Sign Language AI Turns Hand Gestures Into Speech
Google has developed software to turn sign language into speech. Their prototypes allow the user to film the hand gestures, after which Google’s AI engine transforms those gestures into speech. However, the technology still finds itself in its infancy. “For now, there is only a limited number of gestures we can reliably detect. We are working hard to make the technology more reliable and more robust.
Haptic Gloves That Translate Sign Language
In a similar vein, one 25-year-old developer in Kenya has built a pair of haptic gloves that translate sign language to an Android application, which reads the text out loud. The idea is obviously similar, but the approach is completely different. Google’s solution does seem more promising though since it would be easier to scale once the software is optimized.
App Transcribing School Lessons
As part of a competition run by AWS (Amazon Web Services), schoolchildren in England have developed the ‘Connect Hearo’ app, which transcribes school lessons for deaf people or people who have hearing loss. The app transcribes what the teacher says into his/her microphone. As prize winners, the children’s app will be developed by AWS and rolled out for use in schools.
Solar Hearing Aid Batteries
More than half of the 360 million people worldwide with hearing loss live in low- to- middle-income countries. The cost of hearing aids and batteries has often been beyond the reach of the poor. Solar Ear is a solar-powered hearing aid battery that costs a fraction of what traditional batteries cost, and lasts for 2-3 years (rather than one week). The company also offers complete hearing aids at greatly reduced prices.
Do you know of any deaf technologies we haven’t mentioned? What do you think is next in store? Let us know!