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Aberdeen scientists converting sign language to text

Category: Scotland Success Stories — Paul Morgan on March 22, 2012

Aberdeen scientists are developing an exciting new technology that could see sign language being translated into text as early as 2013.

An application would be used, working through a portable camera as seen on many tablets and smartphones, which would convert a sign language speaker’s movements into text. Presently called the portable sign language translator (PSLT), it could revolutionise communication for thousands.

The technology is being researched and developed by scientists based at Technabling, a company partially created with the University of Aberdeen. It is the latest in a line of market leading technological advances, making commercial finance in Scotland, particularly in the research and development sector, a thriving business.

The PSLT will immediately convert a person’s actions into text, allowing it to be read by the person the sign language speaker is conversing with. So good could the technology be, it is thought that it could dramatically improve employment chances for many deaf and hard of hearing young people.

Dr Ernesto Compatangelo, the founder of Technabling and a University of Aberdeen lecturer said the technology is being created to:

“…empower sign language users by enabling them to overcome the communication challenges they can experience (with an app) that is easily accessible and could be used on different devices.”

Dr Compatangelo went on to say that he was most excited that the technology could allow individual users to have their own unique signs, allowing the conversations to be far more personalised to their needs.

Anyone interested in getting involved, particularly from the local sign language speaking community of Aberdeen, can contact the project by emailing:

'Disclaimer: The information contained in these articles is of a general nature and no assurance of accuracy can be given. It is not a substitute for specific professional advice in your own circumstances. No action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a consequence of the material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.

1 Comment »

  1. It is absolutely amazing that this technology is being created and that it’s right here in Scotland. I really do hope it does change people’s lives.

    Comment by Claire — November 21, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

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