Electronic Glove Detects Sign Language

ASL Glove

A team of Cornell students recently built a prototype electronic glove that can detect sign language and speak the characters out loud. The glove is designed to work with a variety of hand sizes, but currently only fits on the right hand.

The glove uses several different sensors to detect hand motion and position. Perhaps the most obvious are the flex sensors that cover each finger. These sensors can detect how each finger is bent by changing the resistance according to the degree of the bend. The glove also contains an MPU-6050 3-axis accelerometer and gyroscope. This sensor can detect the hand’s orientation as well as rotational movement.

While the more high-tech sensors are used to detect most characters, there are a few letters that are similar enough to trick the system. Specifically, they had trouble with the letters R, U, and V. To get around this, the students strategically placed copper tape in several locations on the fingers. When two pieces of tape come together, it closes a circuit and acts as a momentary switch.

The sensor data is collected by an ATmega1284p microcontroller and is then compiled into a packet. This packet gets sent to a PC which then does the heavy processing. The system uses a machine learning algorithm. The user can train the it by gesturing for each letter of the alphabet multiple times. The system will collect all of this data and store it into a data set that can then be used for detection.

This is a great project to take on. If you need more inspiration there’s a lot to be found, including another Cornell project that speaks the letters you sign, as well as this one which straps all needed parts to your forearm.

11 thoughts on “Electronic Glove Detects Sign Language

  1. Knowing that 5 or 6 fingers on on-off buttons can communicate clearly is a given. That Morse’s assistant Vail figured it out in the middle of the eighteenth century in serial is amazing. ANSI is archaic. Texting is in. Just not in this dictionary.

      1. And by that I mean fuck you, I wear glasses. It’s obviously not on the same level but your argument about people wearing special equipment to resolve their deficiencies is derived from the attention seeking part of the human brain otherwise known as the douchecampus.

    1. Well deaf people who sign are pretty used to signing, it’s almost like talking, so, developments of this glove in the future could be used to communicate over the phone/internet in a more natural way than the keyboard. Hell if you know ASL and big fingers this could be better and faster for texting for anyone.

  2. Embed this into a Man’s Inside Jacket Pocket and Woman’s purse and it would be a perfect discrete way to communicate.

    Your face when, you can’t tell if Napoleon is always saying ‘f off” or ‘love you.’ :)

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