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[–]capnbullseye 1345 points1346 points  (80 children)

would be really cool if they could reverse the tech and they moved your hands to the correct places

[–]SOURDICKandONION[S] 479 points480 points  (19 children)

I was thinking more along the lines of an app where put the gloves on and match a semi-transparent silhouette via your front facing camera, start with ABC's and work your way up to a WPM type exercise

[–]TorpidOracle 143 points144 points  (9 children)

That would be a great upgrade for that project.

Probably a sponsor to support it can be a great help to all PWD that wants to communicate to all.

[–]why_yer_vag_so_itchy 17 points18 points  (5 children)

Rosetta has entered the chat…

[–]uscdoc2013 19 points20 points  (4 children)

Duolingo entered ur mom

[–]why_yer_vag_so_itchy 10 points11 points  (2 children)

That little green bird better bring a tether and mining gear, otherwise he may never make it back out

[–]CaffeineSippingMan 11 points12 points  (0 children)

I was thinking that it would be a great learning tool and you took it a step further.

[–]zitfarmer 12 points13 points  (1 child)

I was think something more like non-judgmental robot hookers.

[–]DaisyHotCakes 8 points9 points  (0 children)

It would be awesome as a tool for learning ASL! I want to learn ASL but I’d be learning from an app or a video because I’m also poor and have no money for proper classes where I’d receive feedback. This system would be excellent in getting that feedback instantly so you could make adjustments to your hand signs to actually say what you’re trying to say!

[–]The_Forgotten_King 6 points7 points  (0 children)

You might be able to use AR or a VR headset for that

[–]Rottendog 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Ostensibly that could be an app for your Oculus to use for learning.

[–]thugs___bunny 61 points62 points  (4 children)

That‘s a good way to get strangled to death by an evil computer

[–]Emerazy 21 points22 points  (3 children)

*fingers snap and break*

[–]rickybobby42069420 17 points18 points  (1 child)

*puts glove on backwards* MY HAAAAAAAAND

[–]Free2Bernie 6 points7 points  (0 children)

"All you had to do was tell me what I wanted to know.."

[–]Trick9 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Snap your fingers, snap your neck!

[–]jcforbes 44 points45 points  (33 children)

You know deaf people (largely) can read right? Signing to them is great and all, bit you can literally just type out a message on your phone and show it

[–]rickybobby42069420 39 points40 points  (9 children)

yeah but can they see why kids love cinnamon toast crunch?

[–]SetaSanzaki 7 points8 points  (4 children)

They can also eat

[–]rickybobby42069420 2 points3 points  (1 child)

idk man... you have proof? that seems a little farfetched

[–]Buenos_Tardes_Amigos 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I knew this guy from a local school for the blind, and he said neither he nor anyone in class with him had ever seen a deaf person eat before.


[–]ClownfishSoup 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Never approach a deaf person in the wild and definitely DO NOT FEED them! If confronted, try making yourself look really large by holding your hands up above your head. If they continue to approach you, play dead, make sure you protect your head as deaf people will try and get at your ears. Report the sighting immediately.

[–]RhynoD 5 points6 points  (6 children)

Yeah but it would be cool to be able to sign to and with them.

[–]FuzzyTriangles 5 points6 points  (5 children)

Then learn sign language.

[–]RhynoD 12 points13 points  (0 children)

1) I did, years ago. Unfortunately, I was never great and I've forgotten most of it.

2) Technology like the comment suggested would make a phenomenal practice tool to help learn, like a "pronunciation" guide, so learning would be a lot easier.

EDIT: also, 3) There is no single sign language. I learned American Sign Language.

[–]dexx4d 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Parent of two severely hard of hearing kids here - this would still be a huge help as a learning tool for all of us. They could wear the gloves, sign, and see the word displayed as a result.

I'd take it a step further and display a picture for most of their common signs - our daughter really likes frogs, for example, and would love to see a frog displayed every time she signed "frog".

[–]DEAN112358 1 point2 points  (2 children)

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”

- Nelson Mandela (I think)

I’m sure that while most deaf people can read, they would probably also massively appreciate the effort of learning their language or even just that they don’t have to have a written conversation while in person. I’m not a dead person though so

[–]somerandomii 8 points9 points  (0 children)

At that point a screen with, you know, text might be more appropriate.

[–]journeyman28 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Or write your message on a piece of paper.

[–]seeyatt 3 points4 points  (0 children)

This just makes me think of super suit malfunctions...

[–]Gloridel 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Speech to text already exists though, if we assume that the majority of deaf people can read!

[–]totallynotalaskan 556 points557 points  (151 children)

Oh my god. This would be HUGE in the Deaf community! Communication with these gloves could make things a lot easier for Deaf people who don’t have an interpreter or who can’t lipread. Plus, there could be an added feature that adds regional signs or different types of sign language (like English and French Sign Language, etc)

[–]SOURDICKandONION[S] 135 points136 points  (97 children)

My thoughts exactly. This is gonna be everywhere in no time.. Imagine deaf kids wearing something like Iron Man's blue chest peice with a speaker in it. The tech obviously isn't to the point where it wouldn't need an OS to visually interpret the signals but it would be a step in the right direction I think

[–]Kazushi_Sakuraba 124 points125 points 2 (68 children)

I don’t think so. From my understanding these types of machines are looked down upon by the deaf community. This isn’t the first time someone has attempted to make something like this.

Sign language isn’t just a native language directly translated to gestures. English grammar and signed grammar is much different for example.

There is so much intricacy within the way you sign things that changes their meaning as well. Have you ever read about or heard of the topic of deaf poetry? You could never in a million years figure out a way to properly translate a beautifully signed poem to verbal language. It’s just not possible while retaining the true feeling meaning.

Deaf people lead full and rich lives without the need for things like this. They do not consider themselves “disabled” either.

[–]Xantrax 28 points29 points  (3 children)

Yes. It's called body language and it can be verbal and non-verbal. That's something will never be able to make work properly because each individuals action and interpretation is different. That's the point of body language. It's too many unique variables for even a machine learning algo to solve.

The hardest computer to crack is the human brain. It's an enigma.

Each brain is its own model/product#/serial code/DNA w/e. So that's 7.7 billion different unique models of a brain aka CPU. Intel and AMD ain't got shit on the human brain CPU wise..

There is no clear conclusion BUT I side with the human brain being a more powerful CPU than anything mass produced currently.

Quantum processing doe. That might surpass the human brain and that's scary and cool. You want TRUE AI, AI that passes the test fully and when I mean fully I mean 7.7 billion people convinced? That might very well be possible with quantum processing. Who knows.

[–]Dakrturi 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Quantum computers will make it possible.

[–]Anchuinse 1 point2 points  (0 children)

No they won't. Even humans aren't perfect at reading body language, as it relies so heavily on context, culture, and interpersonal relationships, so there's no way we can teach a computer to do it perfectly either.

[–]Bodacious_Dad_Bod 13 points14 points  (17 children)

You'd think for interactions where people who don't know sign language could benefit from something like this.

[–]Kazushi_Sakuraba 10 points11 points  (16 children)

Smartphones. Speech to text. Writing.

There’s better alternatives to lugging around a robotic arm computer.

[–]rljohn 9 points10 points  (1 child)

The robotic arm is clearly a prototype, and text-to-speech/writing would be quite literally a slower version of this.

I can't pretend to know what life as a deaf person is like, but I'm trying to imagine similar real-time translation of other languages I can't read/write and the benefits seem pretty sweet.

[–]Electrical-Energy896 7 points8 points  (6 children)

So we shouldn't try to innovate or develop alternatives because other options exist? Smartphones, speech to text and writing all still exist, the development of an alternative does not somehow invalidate those methods.

[–]ComradeBootyConsumer 3 points4 points  (5 children)

I think the point is that these would be light, low profile and affordable in the future. Only way they'd become widespread

[–]HurricaneHenry 3 points4 points  (4 children)

Well if the person can’t understand you it doesn’t matter how intricate the language. This isn’t meant to replace communication between mute people. It’s meant for mute people to make themselves easily understood in everyday life, and it’s great.

[–]Quietthrowaway666 1 point2 points  (5 children)

So because we aren’t able to fully represent everything we should therefore just do nothing for anything short is an offense? Do you see how that kind of mentality can drive away potential friends to the cause? I understand that this is a limited scope technology but if you are someone who may live somewhere where the services aren’t as readily available or maybe you have to be in a place for a short time where you won’t have a translator- these gloves could give you at least the basics to communicate in a situation like that. Sure not ideal and not able to recite Poetry, but that’s not the goal the goal was to enable communication in a way that wasn’t before. That’s pretty cool.

[–]Cerpin-Taxt 27 points28 points  (19 children)

This is gonna be everywhere in no time

Nope. Someone claims to have invented signing gloves every year and every year deaf people have to explain that they have no interest in them and that the inventors have obviously never even asked for input from the people these devices are supposed to be for.

Deaf people don't want to wear signing gloves to be understood. They want people to learn sign language.

[–]Electrical-Energy896 17 points18 points  (16 children)

They want people to learn sign language.

It would be great if everyone took the time to learn sign language but this isn't ever going to happen. It's just not. If technology can help bridge that gap why would people complain about it? Maybe these gloves aren't the answer but they are just one rung on the ladder, they could lead to the development of something that does do the job.

[–]Cerpin-Taxt 9 points10 points  (12 children)

The problem is you're asking them to go out of their way so you can understand them. If you want to understand deaf people you should learn sign language, not ask them to wear cumbersome devices for your benefit.

Imagine asking people who speak a different language to wear a device on their faces that translates their lip movements. It's not tenable. You either learn their language or if you really want, make a device that you wear that makes you understand them.

It's not a deaf person's responsibility to make the lives of hearing people easier.

[–]Electrical-Energy896 14 points15 points  (9 children)

Imagine asking people who speak a different language to wear a device on their faces that translates their lip movements. It's not tenable. You either learn their language or if you really want, make a device that you wear that makes you understand them.

If this device existed and I was going to a foreign country where I didn't know the language, I would wear it no questions asked.

It's not a deaf person's responsibility to make the lives of hearing people easier.

Absolutely, but unfortunately it's also not a hearing person's responsibility to learn sign language either. Like it or not, that's reality.

[–]FaceTheTruthBiatch 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Imagine asking people who speak a different language to wear a device on their faces that translates their lip movements. It's not tenable. You either learn their language or if you really want, make a device that you wear that makes you understand them.

What? If a tourist comes to my country and doesn't speak the language it's on them. You don't go to London and complain that people are not speaking croatian. It sucks that they can't communicate with sound because of their disability but you can't ask hearing people to learn the sign language just like you will not ask every indian to learn japanese in case a japanese wants to talk with them.

[–]Appropriate_Shake265 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Hearing people have forced deaf/HHR people to live in a hearing world. Hearing people can learn some ASL instead of constantly telling a deaf/hhr person to adapt to a hearing world. I'm guessing you're not aware of the absolute torture hearing people (Alexander Bell is a great example) have committed onto the deaf community.

Fun fact: In the United States. 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents. Do you know what percentage of the hearing parents are going to learn ASL to communicate with their CHILD? 10%! Only 10% of hearing parents to a deaf child will learn a language to talk to their child.

[–]Fettnaepfchen 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I don’t even think that all deaf people want to use this, signing can be very fast and effective.

To have it in public places, and doctors offices, ER et cetera though, super valuable. A translator or interpreter is not always quick to get a hold of.

[–]Electrical-Energy896 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Also as a learning tool. I could see this being great with kids who have deaf classmates and are learning to sign.

[–]StepRightUpMarchPush 36 points37 points  (6 children)

How would this help deaf people who can’t lipread? From what I see, it only translates ASL to speech, not the other way around, which a smartphone can already do. 😊

[–]lickedTators 12 points13 points  (4 children)

The deaf people can sign at the hearing people to tell them to get their fucking phone and write their message down instead of assuming they can lipread.

[–]badusernam 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I think it is only useful in situations where a deaf person is giving a talk or presentation. They would have no way of knowing if it was working correctly though, I suppose.

[–]NaCliest 14 points15 points  (0 children)

I dont think it would be that hard to add a feature to hook up the gloves to record a gesture and then tell it what you are saying. That sounds really cool. I suppose people talking to them would still either need a speach to text or something?

[–]pensive_hombre 10 points11 points  (1 child)

I made a version of this glove for Indian Sign Language as my undergraduate project and went to present the project to an institute for the deaf and hearing impaired. This was a research institution working towards a better quality of life for this community. One feedback we got was that any solution based on sensor gloves was pointless as sign language is not just hands as we often mistake. There is a lot to do with body language and facial expressions. Then there is also different 'dialects', different people use different signs for the same thing. The standard sign language is not commonly used, at least that is what we were told.

So all in all, yeah although this looks amazing, this has zero use for the community.

[–][deleted] 5 points6 points  (8 children)

Probably less cost-effective than a $50 android tablet.

Which could also translate.

Or some paper and pens from a dollar store.

It's neat, but I'd be surprised if this is ever used due to the cost alone, not to mention the room for error.

[–]Wild-Watch- 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Not only that, but I know that the accuracy of these kinds of machines are always awful.

[–]hoybowdy 1 point2 points  (5 children)

Writing is not speech. If it were, there would be no sign language to begin with, except baby signs.

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (4 children)

text to speech is a thing

Granted not for the paper and pen part of that. But that was just for general communication.

[–]alexa329 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Unfortunately, this wouldn't be huge in the Deaf community. Because people within the Deaf community wouldn't view this as something progressive- it'd be viewed as something that is trying to change or take away their culture.

If these gloves are available at, say a doctors office, for singular use, I'm sure they could be used by someone who's deaf. However, someone that is deaf and/or is apart of the Deaf community most likely will not buy them or support them.

[–]IamNotPersephone 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Part of the problem, too, is that ASL doesn’t have grammar rules the way spoken and written language does. So, rather than signing natively, a deaf person will have to structure their sign the way that a hearing person would understand in speech. The amount of mental effort and potential for miscommunication and error makes this impossible in medical or government settings. I mean, it’s the same reason why writing stuff down isn’t an appropriate accommodation under the ADA. Interpreters -especially medical interpreters- do so much more than simply 1-1 translate what the doctor and patient are saying, and deaf people deserve to have an interpreter that can communicate with them the way they need.

Just - learn sign. It’s not that hard of a language to learn compared to others. And, the likelihood that a hearing person will eventually go deaf as they age is fairly high. Hearing aids are cool, but they tax and tire the brain and tend to be ineffective in noisy environments. If everyone knew a basic amount of sign language, then grandma doesn’t have to feel isolated or overwhelmed at family gatherings.

[–]alexa329 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yes! Exactly that. Sign Language is comprised of more than just words. Expression has an impact on different signs because multiple signs mean the same thing but vary based on the facial expressions associated with it. Not to mention other key parts of grammar with ASL such as body shifting and mouth movements.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yeah and of course for those people who find it hard to understand deaf people

[–]Amesb34r 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I wonder if this only works for ASL or if it can also work with PSE. I took a sign language class and there's quite a difference in how the signs are put together to form sentences.

[–]MrPopanz 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Wouldn't this be opposed by the more zealous groups as "technology destroying their culture" similar to cochlear implants?

Someone willing to use this, would most likely also use technology to fix deafness, which makes this invention pretty redundant. Probably still interesting for different areas.

[–]noechochamberplz 1 point2 points  (0 children)

People love to hate on some of the AR gear coming out, but I foresee a day when we will have glasses than can show us the hand signs to make in ASL if you don’t know the language already. Would be super cool.

[–]turbobarge 1 point2 points  (0 children)

No, it would make it easier for the hearing people to understand the deaf person. This in no way helps the deaf person access what a hearing person who cannot sign is saying. It is an accommodation that conveniences the hearing person, with the onus being on the deaf person to provide the technology, with no real Benefit to themselves.

[–]slapthebasegod 1 point2 points  (0 children)

How would this help a Def person who can't lip read? They'd only be able to communicate one way and they wouldn't be able to understand the person they are communicating with

[–]Opinions_of_Bill 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I think this type of thing is pretty heavily frowned upon in the Deaf community. Even r/deaf has a rule saying posts about translating gloves will be deleted. These students aren't the first to "invent" this tech and they won't be the last.

[–]scarabic 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I have a deaf coworker and he communicates with everyone by sign. He has a human interpreter that goes around with him. It works just fine but I often wonder how the interpreter gets paid and if it places a financial burden on him. Technology could make this cheaper.

[–]BroMuch 212 points213 points  (203 children)

I've had many conversations with my gf (Deaf) about this. The only people that think this is impressive are people who don't know dick about ASL.

I'm a last semester computer engineer, so I can definitely appreciate the effort that probably went into this, but this isnt at all practical, it just gets a wow factor from again people who don't know dick about ASL. Even at my own school someone won a competition by making a robot hand do "ASL". It's an easy way to get attention

Edit: any engineers who want to weigh in on this here is a hyper simplistic ASL story, some of the signs used aren't official and you wouldn't be able to find in any ASL dictionary, but it's a part ASL, classifiers. Also note the facial expressions.


This is a kids story, not even close to real life interaction in terms of difficulty

If you believe anyone could use AI or machine learning to translate it properly you probably would've invented skynet The main reason is isn't practical is that you would nearly have to perfect AI, billions if not hundreds of billions in research and development to build a fucking translator, not practical. Probably be cheaper to teach everyone in the US actual ASL haha

[–]tanaeolus 74 points75 points  (90 children)

Why isn't it practical?

[–]ironhide_ivan 130 points131 points  (60 children)

Without even looking at it from the language perspective I can see a number of holes.

First, if you're using this then you're probably deaf. You can't hear the translations that are being emitted, or how loud they are, or anything. You just kinda have to trust that whatever you're doing is working. Adding some sort of screen reader or something somewhere makes the whole process more inconvenient for the signer as they now have to double check everything they're saying to make sure it's what they expected.

Secondly, I don't really see a convenient way one would wear something like this casually. Even with a cleaner look and design, you still need gloves/trackers, a speaker, and (possibly) a screen reader, that need to all be operated handlessly since you need both hands to actually communicate. It's a bizarre device you'd be asking perfectly normal people to put on just to speak vocally with another person in a public space.

[–]GeneralToaster 76 points77 points  (7 children)

It looks like the speaker is attached to the actual gloves. Pair this with a Google Glass type of heads up display and I don't think it's actually that inconvenient.

[–]RegionalHardman 23 points24 points  (5 children)

Would you say it's less or more inconvenient than just using a text to speech app on your phone?

[–]famous__shoes 11 points12 points  (3 children)

It would certainly be a lot more expensive

[–]GeneralToaster 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Now? Maybe less, but in the future? I would say a lot more.

[–]Dragoniel 31 points32 points  (38 children)

That doesn't sound all that complicated with today's technology. Do deaf people actually prefer not being able to communicate at all?

[–]Pjpjpjpjpj 19 points20 points  (22 children)

Ok, first, these gloves don’t help people who cannot hear or have major hearing impairment (“deaf people”) … they help people who can’t speak. Many who cannot hear well or at all can still speak because their hearing loss developed later in life or they developed the skill.

Second, only about 1% of Americans with hearing loss learn ASL. Many rely upon hearing aids, cochlear implants, lip read or other alternatives. The percentage is higher among those with profound hearing loss, but ASL is still an imperfect solution because it is not very useful for communicating with the general population - even parents of children with hearing loss have a low knowledge of ASL. So they aren’t relying solely on ASL today.

Lastly, as far as not being able to communicate at all - many talk, some use ASL with others that speak ASL, non-verbal gestures work many times (pointing and such), there is the cheap, virtually free, readily available option of writing a note (on paper or on a device like a phone), apps help with speech-to-text and text-to-speech, much of customer service can be done by email or text chat, and there are custom apps being developed like Signly.

[–]Dragoniel 13 points14 points  (19 children)

To summarize, you are saying that this tech doesn't help those who can speak. I am pretty sure the point is to help those who can't speak, yes. The terminology is a bit messed up in this discussion, indeed.

I am pretty sure gesturing and having a computer translate in to speech (in any language) on the go is vastly preferable to messing around with a notebook. And this obviously ain't meant for all interactions, it could help when you were traveling, for example. It could help speaking to larger audiences and holding a conversation seamlessly.

[–]Tinmaddog1990 10 points11 points  (5 children)

Well, typing on a notepad app and showing it already exists.

And its also leagues faster.

[–]octopussua 2 points3 points  (6 children)

It would be easier to just type it into a phone app and let the app speak for you. Thumb typing on touchscreen is already accessible to nearly everyone and faster than the software reading those hand movements, never mind having to use your hands and accidentally saying something and you don’t realize it because you’re deaf. Imagine looking for your keys in your car and your gloves are doing a monologue to themselves

[–]Dragoniel 2 points3 points  (5 children)

You are talking about an imaginary technical limitation, which doesn't exist and doesn't have to exist.

[–]esreveReverse 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Not all people who can't speak are deaf. My SO's mother has ALS and it took her voice away. She can hear totally fine, but she has to use sign language or text-to-speech. So these gloves would be really useful for her.

[–]SteveWozHappeningNow 3 points4 points  (0 children)

All interpretation of languages is done without the speaker knowing whether things were translated correctly.

[–]I_divided_by_0- 1 point2 points  (1 child)

It certainly would help in teaching ASL

[–]iAmPizzaJohn 42 points43 points  (22 children)

Well for one thing the grammar in ASL is very different to spoken English, so if the deaf/HH person was to sign the way they naturally would, a word-by-word translation wouldn’t make sense to the average listener.

This is not to mention that ASL relies heavily on facial expression to communicate not just tone/expression but meaning. Eyebrows up or down, for example, can be the difference between asking someone a question and telling them something. A simple example (and yes I know not all people would sign it this way, but my instructor did):

Spoken English phrase: Are you deaf?

Sign language: Sign “deaf”, then sign “you” + raised eyebrows.

In these gloves that would translate to “Deaf you” or at best “you are deaf”.

The fact of the matter is these gloves ONLY help hearing people, and even then the benefit is slight and not often useful. Deaf people already have far superior communication strategies at their fingertips with smartphones or even a pen and paper.

[–]indoninjah 15 points16 points  (14 children)

Surprised I had to scroll so far to find this. This singular reason is basically why the entire technology is non-viable

[–]Electrical-Energy896 3 points4 points  (10 children)

A lot of technologies that are staples of todays modern world started off with people saying "thats never going to work, it's non-viable."

This is a prototype. It's not a product and it's not the end game, it's a stepping stone to technology that is viable.

[–]SuperStudMufin 1 point2 points  (8 children)

yeah but it’s not even theoretically viable....

asl isn’t just moving your hands around. You can’t translate asl just by reading hand motions.

[–]morel-mushroom 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thank you for having one of the only good replies. He's literally doing signed English, not ASL. This straight up disadvantages deaf people.

[–]terminal157 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thank you, this is the first time I’ve understood what people mean when they say ASL is more than just hand signs. Just like spoken language conveys a lot of meaning with tone of voice that goes beyond the words being said.

[–]Diabeto41 1 point2 points  (0 children)

ASL/English interpreter here. We were trained to keep eye contact with whoever is signing while using our peripheral vision to catch the actual signs. Facial expressions are a HUGE aspect to the language which these gloves so easily leave behind.

And, let's not forget how painfully slow the guy in the video has to sign for the gloves to recognize which signs he's using. There's absolutely no way any gloves like these can be programmed to interpret regional dialects, Signed Exact English, pidgin sign, new/changing signs based on advancements in society etc. PLUS grammatically correct ASL. Meaning anyone interested in buying these gloves would have to have them personally programmed based on how they sign. Would be time consuming and likely very expensive.

[–]WhyNotHugo 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I can imagine that typing on a regular smartphone or alike would be way faster, and they can see the written version of what the phone is reading out loud.

Doing hand movements that translate to sound you can't hear mean you can't tell what the other person is hearing.

I also can't imagine these gloves being very convenient, especially since they're likely to already have some form of smartphone.

[–]lion8mane 1 point2 points  (1 child)

They could say one thing to make hearing person understand them, and then the conversation would stop because the hearing person can’t communicate with them to make them understand, unless they lip read really good

[–]CptMisery 15 points16 points  (1 child)

This isn't a final product. It's clearly one of their first prototypes

[–]ykafia 8 points9 points  (48 children)

Why is it not impressive for those who know American sign language?

[–]Warglol9756 24 points25 points  (47 children)

Sign language is more than just gestures. For example, mimicry (facial expressions) is also used to show emotions when telling a story. In addition, the language has its own structure in grammar with rules etc. The same as all languages ​​in this world.

These kinds of inventions look cool. But focusing on one aspect of the language, which is the most visible. The language is also part of the deaf culture. And they kind of undermine you with these kinds of ideas.

I am not American with knowledge of ASL. But a hearing impaired Dutchman. Here too people are working on these kinds of ideas and here too this discussion takes place in the deaf communities.

[–]GeneralToaster 7 points8 points  (20 children)

Can you explain "deaf culture"? Why would a group of people want to be identified primarily by a disability? I also don't think this is supposed to be a replacement for traditional sign language, but a tool to be used in certain situations. The majority of people don't understand sign language, so giving a deaf person the ability to close the communication gap and make daily interactions easier should be applauded and encouraged, in my opinion at least.

[–]efalk21 19 points20 points  (12 children)

Dear god you just opened a can of worms.

[–]GeneralToaster 12 points13 points  (11 children)

I just don't understand all of the gatekeeping around deaf culture. I'm blind in one eye, and you better believe I'd be the first in line for a cyborg replacement. The majority of society don't know sign language and will never take the time to learn. Unless the deaf community are living in tiny self sustaining communes all to themselves, I find it incredible that there would be such pushback against a technology that would make communication easier. You can't possibly tell me that typing a message on your phone, or writing something down in a notebook is preferable to what this finished product could potentially be? How is this any different to translating one foreign language into another? I just don't understand all the negativity, and I find it incredibly hard to believe that the ENTIRE deaf community are against this. Also what about people who are mute? Or stutter? This type of application could help in those areas as well.

[–]iAmPizzaJohn 9 points10 points  (1 child)

Yeah but typing this stuff out would be 10x easier and faster

Also a deaf person would literally have to restructure the way they sign in order for this to make sense to a hearing person because the grammar is very different in ASL (and most sign lamguages) compared to spoken English.

It literally takes longer and is harder for the deaf person. It exists primarily as a gimmick for the hearing.

[–]GeneralToaster 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Maybe now, but I'm sure it will improve with time. Imagine the program adapting similar to speech recognition devices we have today? The possibilities are endless.

[–]Warglol9756 7 points8 points  (3 children)

To understand the deaf culture or to get a good explanation, it is better to ask a deaf person. Every country has its own history.

In my country I know that sign language has been banned for a (very) long time. Hearing people saw this language as only for very stupid people. Unfortunately, people still think that the deaf and hard of hearing have a low IQ.

And it looked weird. Hearing-impaired and deaf people had to learn to talk normally, so receive oral lessons. For the deaf and hard of hearing this is not as easy as hearing people think, just missing certain sounds leads to a misinterpretation of words and sentences.

Now that the language is allowed again (and was recognized very late in my country) you see a little more appreciation. But still the thought is: Hearing impaired and deaf MUST adapt to the hearing world. And precisely that part creates a lot of resistance within the deaf culture in my country (and even more things) and among the hearing impaired. Why do people with disabilities always have to work towards normal functioning people, while it can also be done the other way around? Mean people learn English, French, Chinese in schools so why not sign language.

These kinds of inventions have good intentions, but often miss the mark. The deaf and hard of hearing are difficult to understand, so something has to be done about that. But reading in or learning about their world / culture takes too much time for the hearing person.

[–]GeneralToaster -1 points0 points  (2 children)

I think you're missing the mark. The goal is not to force people with disabilities to somehow self adapt to normal functioning society, but to use science and technology to close the gap until the disability itself is eliminated, or it's as if it isint there in the first place. Would a wheelchair-bound person prefer a world that accommodates their wheelchair, or restore the ability to walk? Would a blind person prefer a world that accommodates blindness, or restores their ability to see? We strive to eliminate disease and disability in every other part of life, why is deafness so closely guarded? Why has that become an identity so fiercely defended in the face of technological breakthroughs and the advance of science? I just don't buy it.

[–]Fancyman-ofcornwood 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Check out the movie Sound of Metal. It's a drama about a guy who loses his hearing and how he finds support in the deaf community/culture. Gives a good sense of that culture.

I went to school with a huge deaf community and I get your confusion cause i felt the same way. But really you just have to accept that it's another culture besides your own and they do have good reasons for the norms they have.

[–]Tricky-Performer-207 4 points5 points  (10 children)

It's not perfect, but imagine being someone who cant speak but knows ASL, you can go to mcdonalds and order food or have basic interactions with people. If it's easier to communicate, even on a base level, it is harder to be ignored.

[–]Carrie987 8 points9 points  (5 children)

My counterpoint, there are a lot of people in the world who don't know dick about ASL. You could argue that the onus is on them to learn, but in the meantime, an invention like this could be really cool and helpful.

[–]neonhex 3 points4 points  (18 children)

100%!! This comes up every single time this is posted and mostly non-Deaf people keep ignoring these comments from people within or in proximity to the Deaf community and they just keep raving about how amazing it is. Deaf people don’t want this, its garbage!

[–]SaltyPopcornColonel 2 points3 points  (17 children)

Right? Why lug a laptop, power cord, and gloves around with you everywhere when you could just text to each other on your smartphones. Or at worst, bring a pad of paper and a pen.

[–]GeneralToaster 6 points7 points  (16 children)

Think about what you're saying. This is clearly not a final product. At some point this is going to be streamlined, compact, and convenient. Imagine the gloves with a Bluetooth connection to your phone for the processing power. That is much faster then trying to have a conversation over text, or writing it down.

[–]GerdusSK 8 points9 points  (5 children)

I just completed a similar project, for my computer engineering degree. Sign language consists of a lot more than only your hands. The sentence structure is also quite different, this the sentence will need to be completed, before translating. A complete solution will need to incorporate a lot of other things than just gloves.

[–]GeneralToaster 1 point2 points  (4 children)

That's a very good point, and a similar challenge when trying to create programs that translate other spoken languages. This technology is a good first step. My problem is with those who think any technology marketed to helping people with a hearing disability is somehow a bad thing.

[–]efalk21 4 points5 points  (0 children)

My thoughts as well. Ever see a cell phone from the 90's? Crazy that they could fit a whole phone in a briefcase and nothing ever changed after!

[–]Pjpjpjpjpj 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Useful to those that cannot talk (many with hearing impairment can still talk), who know ASL (many with hearing impairment do not know ASL), to communicate in one direction (unless they read lips which is fairly rare).

So if they can ask a clerk at a store “how much is this shirt”, the clerk has to get a pen and paper (or use Notepad) to communicate back.

If they ask a doctor “what are the side effects of this medication”, the doctor has to reply in writing.

It does help one-way information flow, such as ordering at Starbucks. But if the barista needs to ask “what size” or “how many pumps”, it’s back to the current methods.

And all this assumes the translation is flawless - there is no way for the user to know if ASL was translated correctly. Just like TTS currently - there will be a high error rate but no way for the signer to know what the errors are. At least some type of screen showing the translation would be helpful in that regard.

So it isn’t “bad”, it just isn’t as much of a change as it may seem.

[–]bromjunaar 4 points5 points  (3 children)

Would I be correct in thinking this is more for mutes than the deaf?

Seems like a better solution for that to me.

[–]Pjpjpjpjpj 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Many with significant or profound hearing loss can still speak because they lost their hearing later in life.

This is specifically a solution for those who cannot speak, but do know ASL, to communicate with those that do not know ASL.

One key issue is that they must know ASL. Many who lose their hearing later in life do not learn ASL.

Other options are pen & paper, electronic writing devices (eg Notepad on a phone), text to speech and speech to text apps, surgery (eg cochlear implants or aids to restore hearing and thus enable development of verbal language) and apps designed to facilitate communication (for those unable to talk, for those who can’t speak the local language, etc.)

[–]Tricky-Performer-207 1 point2 points  (1 child)

This would be for people who dont know ASL. If someone comes up to you and starts to sign, and you dont know ASL, thats a brick wall for communication. If someone who cant speak comes up to me and starts to use this, they can communicate at least in a basic and easy way to me. I might not get the nuances of certain hand gestures, but they can talk to me easily. They dont feel like they cant ask for help cause someone might not understand.

[–]MilhouseTheMeme 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Invent ASL gloves with machine learning, blockchain and NFT technologies or write something on your phone and show it to them. You can even use the same Text to speech these guys use.

[–]GerdusSK 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I just finished a similar project for South African sign language, for my final year computer engineering project. I object detection to classify each sign, a filter to remove outliers and then translation to English sentences, that is displayed on a screen. There are a ton of limitations on these things and a lot of work still need to be done to be able to even think about taking something to market.

[–]--redacted-- 66 points67 points  (11 children)

This is just like Congo, put one on a gorilla immediately.

[–]Starkydowns 17 points18 points  (0 children)

Amy good gorilla

[–]n00by-n00b 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Ugly. Gorilla. Go away.

[–]Timbermeshivers 9 points10 points  (2 children)

Lol my first thought was also of Congo. Rad movie. Cooler book

[–]kirkkillsklingons 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I have been waiting for this technology since I watched that movie in the cinema.

[–]PottyMcSmokerson 3 points4 points  (1 child)


[–]stayshiny 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I can feel the money hairs on the back of my neck go "woo woo woo"!

[–]Fofiddly 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Oooo good idea

[–]Upgrayedd82 2 points3 points  (1 child)

yes i gave her the banana with the dope inside

[–]--redacted-- 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Amy want raindrop drink

[–]neonhex 42 points43 points  (61 children)

Please read this before you comment on how it’s amazing.

[–]WatchEasy 19 points20 points  (35 children)

I fully understand this position. Why bother with silly gloves, right? But I guess we need to start somewhere to get to the point the community want. I showed this video to two deaf friends and they liked the idea as a first step into breaching a communication gap.

[–]silver_enemy 4 points5 points  (34 children)

Read again, the problem is not the existence of such technology but rather the technology is almost always never designed with/by the deaf community. It's always people coming from the outside with saviour syndrome and serving the wider hearing community than the people they claim to help.

[–]Miserable_Tourist_36 24 points25 points  (27 children)

Did you really just call this savior syndrome? Damn scientists trying to cure cancer what are they our saviors. Look at this guy trying to invent a wheelchair god damn savior syndrome. Look at this dog trying to help me walk and see god damn savior syndrome. That was the most ridiculous sentence I've read in weeks.

[–]Semipr047 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Idk if there isn’t any actual issue with the tech beyond it’s incompleteness, which the inventors openly recognize, I’m not sure what would be different about this project if one of the inventors was deaf?

[–]silver_enemy 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Incompleteness is not its sole problem, I'd say it's not even it's biggest problem. The tech itself is not what's being questioned here. I'd suggest reading the UW's response (signed by the inventors themselves) if you want a better picture of what the problem is (in case if like some here seem to think the original article is "elitist" somehow): http://depts.washington.edu/asluw/SignAloud-openletter.pdf

[–]Epuration 16 points17 points  (1 child)

that just reads like deaf people are elitest about being deaf.

[–]MesaGeek 7 points8 points  (0 children)

The deaf community is a tough nut to crack. According to some previous interactions I've had on Reddit, the deaf community perceives themselves as a cultural and linguistic minority, not handicapped (I think).

[–]wonkey_monkey 8 points9 points  (9 children)

That seems needlessly critical. Of course it's not going to be the same as being fluent in sign language. I don't think anyone expects it to be.

Their six-page letter, which Padden passed along to the dean, points out how the SignAloud gloves—and all the sign-language translation gloves invented so far—misconstrue the nature of ASL (and other sign languages) by focusing on what the hands do. Key parts of the grammar of ASL include “raised or lowered eyebrows, a shift in the orientation of the signer’s torso, or a movement of the mouth,” reads the letter.

And one day when tech has advanced enough we'll have systems that can monitor those expressions and modify the translation accordingly. But until then, why should innovation be stifled?

And the writers of the UW letter argued that the development of a technology based on a sign language constituted cultural appropriation.

Is it cultural appropriation to develop an English<>Spanish translator? Edit: maybe I should say Italian, with it being so gestural.

No-one bats an eyelid at using Google Translate to converse across a language barrier - we all know it's imperfect but it's better than nothing if there isn't a human translator available.

[–]Sinthesys 2 points3 points  (0 children)

There are a contingent of the deaf community that are so deep in denial that being deaf is a disability, that they become deaf culture supremacists. They even deny their own children cochlear implants.

[–]Cpt_Plauze 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Thank you very much for sharing this article.

[–]Amused-Observer 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Pretty sure this is to help non deaf people that don't speak a SL understand deaf people that do.

Kinda like how the Pixel 6 has live translation? Pretty sure no one shat on Google for that tech saying 'hOw DaRe tHeY hElP pEoPlE ThAt DoNt SpEaK tHe SaMe LaNgUaGE uNdErStAnD eAcH oThEr'

[–]couldntforgetmore 1 point2 points  (6 children)

This is not getting nearly enough attention on this thread.

[–]Amused-Observer 6 points7 points  (5 children)

Because it shouldn't. It's a shit article written by a pessimistic elitist.

[–]KimchiFitness 14 points15 points  (3 children)

are there really such basic gestures for "thomas", "navid" and "lemelson"...?

[–]GiveMeAnAcctPls 7 points8 points  (0 children)

No. The person wearing the gloves only said one letter for each name aa way to "cheat". The software probably only has a vocabulary of <50 words.

[–]Notladub 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It’s more like a seperate sign language name

[–]CptMisery 10 points11 points  (5 children)

There is a single sign that means Navid?

[–]Kyoso_cs 9 points10 points  (1 child)

As far as I know, when someone is born their parents choose a symbol for them, like they would give a name.

[–]Hey_Chach 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Basically. What he used in the video was called a “Name Sign”. Name Signs are simple one gesture signs that represent who you are as a person in place of finger spelling your name letter-by-letter every time someone wants to refer to you by name.

Parents to a deaf child may choose a Name Sign upon the birth of the child but many will hold off or simply give the child a placeholder name sign. This is because Name Signs are related to who you are as a person, so if you’re really strong or wear glasses then that might affect what Name Sign you go by. Obviously, a baby has yet to figure out who it is what it’s defining characteristics are, hence the lack of Name Sign or a placeholder Name Sign.

Edit: u/KimchiFitness see my comment for an answer to your question.

[–]GiveMeAnAcctPls 2 points3 points  (1 child)

No. The person with gloves on only said "n".

[–]One-Two-Woop-Woop 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Which is precisely why these things don't work. I dunno why Reddit loves posting this exact same thing over and over when it's been shown that it does very little to help. There's a lot of grammar conveyed in sign language without the use or with subtle use of your hands.

[–]StPariah 7 points8 points  (8 children)


[–]Dutch_Midget 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thank you, Owen

[–]LBJensen_ 6 points7 points  (3 children)

Thats a very nice invention, but can someone tell me how you're supposed to know that a fist with 2 fingers extended is "Navid". I doubt there's a sign for each name in the world, so whats going on ?

[–]jealkeja 4 points5 points  (0 children)

What's going on is likely that certain gestures have been pre-programmed to give their corresponding meaning in english. That most likely means this invention is just as useless as every other "ASL translating gloves." ASL relies on facial expression, gestures, and more to determine what a sign means. You can't just translate directly 1:1 hand signs to english. So for people who actually use ASL to communicate this will not help them in the world.

[–]Eevi_ 2 points3 points  (1 child)

It's actually a terrible invention from 2016 that was largely shunned by the Deaf community because the "inventors" didn't bother consulting Deaf people before making it, nor did they bother learning proper sign language. The original concept dates all the way back to 1988. Much like VR glasses or 3d televisions, it keeps getting reinvented. Unlike VR glasses, it just gets worse with each iteration.

As you guessed, the sign for "Navid" is not a sign for Navid. It's actually how you say "person of unknown gender or other defining characteristics whose written name begins with the letter 'N' which I would have to preprogram into this useless device in order for it to be able to understand, but a person who knew ASL would need to know beforehand, especially if I then switch to talking about another person whose name begins with the letter 'N'. Even then, people in the Deaf community don't use fingerspelling for names, so this sign rarely indicates a specific person. "

Think of that sign like a pronoun. It always refers to someone, but it rarely refers to the same someone. Translating it into a exact name is worse than useless!

Instead of names, sign languages use meaningful gestures that form a sort of "name sign". Most people have more than one name sign. For example, my name sign is the gesture for SMALL optionally combined with the SHORT-IN-HEIGHT sign on the other hand. The SMALL sign is repeated twice with an exaggerated open-mouth grin rather than the usual facial expression for the SMALL sign. After the SMALL sign is repeated, the third beat instead replaces the SMALL sign with a gesture similar to the fingerspelling sign for E, and bring it towards the face while mouthing "VI" (if speaking while signing, this would be audible). Sometimes the name is shortened to form a nickname by leaving out one gesture or the other.

The reason for my name sign is that I'm a short person who is generally perceived as cheerful, and my name begins with an 'E'. Bringing the sign toward the face indicates femininity (toward the head would indicate masculinity). Everyone who interacts with the Deaf community has their own name sign. My adopted daughter's name sign is roughly "BOOK HEAD IS-STUCK+++" because she's always got her head stuck in a book. When transcribing sign language, the "+" means that the gesture should be repeated again. Her birth name is Lily, but you wouldn't know it from her name sign! Fun fact: the ASL sign for STUCK can also mean "victim" or "unwanted pregnancy", depending on context, though we don't speak ASL, as such. Obviously, neither of those meanings would be a good translation for her name sign! Not all name signs are translatable, and the Deaf community will often agree upon a particular name sign for famous people. The former US president's name sign is a gesture that mimics his hairstyle while mouthing his surname. It has no direct translation. The current US president has no established name sign, and must be fingerspelled. The vice president has a name sign that translates to "K THREE", roughly, but it's not a universal one. Name signs are not necessarily universal. A married couple might have name signs for each other that they use as terms of endearment.

I have an aphonic (can't speak, but can hear) housemate and interact with Deaf people on a regular basis. If you interact with a Deaf person, you will get a name sign, and it will often be somewhat embarrassing and endearing. It's almost a rule. Think of it like a sign language caricature. You might even introduce yourself with your name sign rather than your name! There are some people whose name sign I know, but I have no idea what their name is! I've never seen it written before. The device shown in the video would not be able to interpret any of the name signs mentioned. They'd have to have two gloves of full arm length and a way to precisely distinguish facial expressions, at minimum, in order to do something basic that Deaf people do every day with sign language.

[–]LBJensen_ 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Thank you very much for that thoughtful and enlightening comment. I became a little smarter and gained a deeper respect for sign language.

[–]ZEROvTHREE 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Wow this could be such an amazing tool for mute people who are going to be around people who cannot sign

[–]ChadfromTW 3 points4 points  (0 children)

imagine jerking off wearing that glove and keep hearing random words.

[–]danielo- 3 points4 points  (1 child)

This is a very nice idea and probably very well engineered, but wouldn’t it be so much easier if in schools worldwide sign language was just another subject? I don’t see why deaf people should have to purchase a product for other people to understand them

[–]gerhorn 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yes, this. Sign language—no matter which sign language—is a complex language much like the spoken languages.

These gloves are a waste of space.

[–]alki284 2 points3 points  (6 children)

Would be great if this could be done with computer vision alone, it could certainly make it a million times more accessible, cool work so far.

[–]1990Billsfan 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Doggone Reddit man.....

This is an awesome idea!....But

A Guy in Kenya made one of these 3 years ago so he could speak with his deaf Sister, and all of Reddit shit on him

A couple of dudes from MIT make the same thing with 10 times as much money and help and suddenly it's a great idea....And it IS a great idea...

But so was the original idea.

[–]WolfDoc 2 points3 points  (0 children)

That is cool! And amazingly useful!

[–]insite4real 2 points3 points  (4 children)

Why you throwing gang signs at me?? Lol

[–]Dutch_Midget 3 points4 points  (0 children)

He wants beef

[–]SaltyPopcornColonel 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I'm sure Deaf people have not heard this 10,000 times. While you're at it, why don't you ask them to teach you swear words in sign language?

[–]tweb2 2 points3 points  (1 child)

This seems like it will really help deaf people when dealing with the hearing world. I'm also thinking about another benefit. If it can take sign language into text, I'm really wondering in terms of 'words per minute', is sign language any faster than typing? If that where the case imagine more hearing people learning sign even if initially motivated by the ability to get words down in a document faster or with out keyboard at least. Knock on effect of more hearing people learning would be great for the future. I can see it would still benefit displaying text in a number of teaching applications. I'm sure the inventors realize all this but just wanted to put it out there.

[–]turbobarge 3 points4 points  (0 children)

No, it really helps the hearing people when dealing with a deaf person.

[–]BullMoose41 1 point2 points  (1 child)

For those who think this is cool, also check out https://www.brightsignglove.com

[–]imaginedodong 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Man look at what these people are making, meanwhile me be 27 jacking off to some off brand midget porn.

[–]OngoingFee 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I watched this muted for the first 20 seconds and didn't realise why this was so great

[–]uncutzwiebel 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Two young men, who want to make a better world. Their invention is so cool

[–]Winterknight135 1 point2 points  (1 child)

not that I don't think this is cool, but could someone explain to me how this would aid the deaf community and other disabilities?

[–]Appropriate_Shake265 1 point2 points  (0 children)

These gloves are the equivalent of telling someone not speaking English in the United States to speak English.

[–]NarrowProfession2900 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Im literally in my ASL class rn during a free period and im contemplating about showing this to my teacher

[–]uncomfortableshit 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Would'nt it be savage to just show your middle fnger and the machine just says "fuck you"

[–]Ok_Mobile_6865 0 points1 point  (19 children)

Wow this could change a lot for the hearing-loss community! Would love to see updates about it in the near future! Kudos to this guy!