SBIR Phase I: AcceleGlove: A Cost Effective Device For Translating American Sign Language Into Text and Speech

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Institute for Disabilities Research and Training, Inc.
11323 Amherst Avenue, Suite 200, silver spring, MD, 20902
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Corinne Vinopol
(301) 942-4326
Business Contact:
Corinne Vinopol
(301) 942-4326
Research Institution:
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I research project will demonstrate the feasibility of developing a bio-electronic portable device that translates American Sign Language (ASL), a gestural language that has no written representation, to spoken and written English. The development of such a device implies design and refinement of mechanics and electronics, as well as writing several computer applications to integrate with extant computer programs that train and practice ASL. Development efforts proposed for this project will substantially propel this device toward commercialization. The instrumental part of the research aims to obtain a fully portable gesture capturing system in two versions: wired and. The proposed research has three goals: (1) To determine feasibility for two-arm translation, (2) To determine capability to interface with ASL instructional software, and (3) To determine if the electronics can be made robust enough for consumer use. Achievement of these goals will require (a) modification of hardware and software previously developed to handle finger spelling (one hand) to handle ASL translation (two-handed) by consumers, and (b) development of a series of communication protocols and conventions to integrate the ASL instructional and translation software, which are currently standalone applications. American Sign Language (ASL) is the native language of many deaf and speech impaired people in the United States and Canada and the second language for relatives and others who provide services to them, making ASL the fourth most widely used language in the U.S. As a gestural language, based on visual principles, it has no written representation. Despite how pervasively this language is used, there is no automatic device on the market that can translate ASL to spoken or written English (or any other sound-based language) in the same way that there are electronic dictionaries to translate English to other spoken languages. Development of this bio-electronic instrumentation will enable native ASL users to communicate instantaneously with English users for commonplace purposes. It is anticipated that it will have special value to multiply disabled deaf and other disabled (e.g., autistic, mentally retarded, aphasic) individuals for whom acquisition of English is a challenge. This instrumentation also has applications for rehabilitation, gaming, and robotics. The proposed instrumentation overcomes limitations posed by previous inventions that could not interpret palm orientation, an essential component for recognizing distinct signs, by using digital accelerometers mounted on fingers and the back of the palm.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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