In a remarkable effort to further bridge communication gaps with the differently-abled, student researchers from the engineering technology and industrial design programs of the University of Houston have created MyVoice, a concept device that reads sign language and translates its motions into audible words. Recently lauded as the top concept project in the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) – Gulf Southwest Annual Conference, MyVoice features a handheld tool with a built-in microphone, speaker, soundboard, video camera and monitor.
Upon being mounted on a hard, stable surface, MyVoice can read a user’s gestures while using sign language and transmit the message through its built-in voice. MyVoice can also capture a user’s voice and project it in sign language using a small projector. This way, easier communication may be facilitated between the hearing impaired and hearing people who are unfamiliar with sign language. Sergio Aleman, one of the designers behind MyVoice, says:
This wasn’t just a project we did for a grade. While designing and developing it, it turned into something very personal. When we got to know members of the deaf community and really understood their challenges, it made MyVoice very important to all of us.
Image via MyVoice