Japanese researchers create a new way for normal listeners and the hearing-impaired to communicate.

Researchers in Japan are starting to develop a system that recognizes sign language and automatically converts it into Japanese characters – only requiring a commercial motion sensor such as the “Microsoft Kinect.”

Mizuho Information & Research Institute Inc and Chiba University aim to improve communications between hearing-impaired people and normal listeners, with plans for a prototype to be available in October 2013, and a full-fledged version in 2014.

The system uses four steps to achieve its goal:

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