Wed. Oct 5th, 2022

New research published online in the journal Sensors has demonstrated the development of an innovative smart glove for translating sign language to enable enhanced communications between sign language users and other individuals. The paper has been authored by scientists from Lodz University of Technology in Poland.

Study: Textronic Glove Translating Polish Sign Language. Image Credit: New Africa/

Enabling Better Communication

Communication brings people together. Overcoming language barriers helps individuals connect and share information, life experiences, thoughts, and opinions and promotes cultural understanding. This is easier when individuals speak the same language but becomes increasingly difficult when language barriers are encountered. 

Although it should be noted that not all deaf and hearing-impaired individuals use sign language, this is an important form of communication for more than 70 million people worldwide. 

Aside from the deaf community, individuals with aphasia, autistic people, and hearing nonverbal individuals also learn sign language. Sign language is not commonly learned by individuals which are not members of these groups and the deaf and hearing-impaired communities unless they work directly with individuals, meaning that a considerable proportion of society cannot communicate with sign language users.

Recent technological advances in the fields of smartphones, telecommunications, artificial intelligence, smart sensors, and wearable technologies could provide routes toward overcoming language barriers and improving communication between sign language and non-sign language users. Smartphones are a near-ubiquitous technology in the 21st century,

The photo of two sides of the materials (front and back) used for the research: (a) Velostat, (b) Cordura, (c) Goretex membrane. Image Credit: Korzeniewska, E et al., Sensors

Current Solutions

Taking Poland as an example, there are approximately 100,000 Polish sign language users out of around 850,000 deaf and hearing-impaired individuals. Until now, most solutions for translating sign language into Polish and other languages are software based.

This solution, however, is problematic. Services are typically unavailable in both private and public locations, with limited access for sign language users. This approach also encounters problems with an individual’s focus and comfort as communication is recorded, presenting issues such as privacy and a lack of willingness to engage with technologies.

A Better Way – Translating Sign Language Using Electronic Gloves

Sign language, whether it is spelling individual letters or forming entire words, is gesture-based, involving complex hand movements and finger bending. Some words in sign language can be incredibly similar to each other, causing some slight issues with communication.

Communication devices should be as unimposing and inconspicuous as possible as well as unburdening for the user. A glove-based smart communication system is comfortable for the user, does not reduce motion ranges, and has no …….


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