Two-Way Communication Device Bridges Gap Between Deaf, Hearing Communities

UNI translates sign language to audio and spoken words to text

For deaf people, communicating with hearing people is often a struggle, involving writing things out, hand gestures, lip reading and confusion all around. But now there’s an innovative solution that can bridge the communication gap between American Sign Language and speaking – UNI. UNI is a tablet case that uses motion sensor technology to translate sign language into audio so deaf people can communicate with hearing people. UNI also converts spoken word into text so deaf people can read what is being spoken by hearing people.

The life-changing communication device, developed by MotionSavvy, is the first of its kind to translate sign language to audio. For the 370 million deaf people in the world, UNI can open new doors to jobs and education and strengthen relationships with hearing people by bridging the communication divide.


UNI uses gesture recognition technology developed by Leap Motion to translate sign language into audible speech. The Leap Motion sensor uses a camera to follow every hand movement of a signer and identify each movement using sign language recognition technology. The device also employs voice recognition technology to convert spoken words into text. UNI’s technology provides an easy, two-way communication tool that allows deaf people and hearing people to communicate naturally in their own languages and understand each other.

UNI recognizes the specific signing style of the user, and allows signers to keep the device up to date with the latest signs by using an upload feature called Sign Builder. The uploaded signs then become available to every UNI user. Just like Wikipedia crowdsources information, MotionSavvy adds new terms and gestures to its Sign Language Database as more people use it. So over time UNI gets smarter to provide the most accurate translations.


UNI was built by a team of deaf engineers from Rochester Institute of Technology with design and programming experiences from Nintendo, Microsoft, Railcomm, Inc. and ZVRS.

The UNI system includes a tablet, smart case, and mobile app. The device does not require an Internet connection to communicate. UNI is compatible with Dell Venue 8 Pro, and developers are working on Android and iOS compatible versions.

UNI can be pre-ordered on IndieGogo for $499, and the estimated delivery date is December 2015.