Microsoft’s Kinect to aid deaf users
Microsoft’s research team is working to advance Kinect technology, known for its adeptness at reading hand and body movements, to make it capable of reading sign language and translate into its motion-sensing vocabulary to help the deaf users. The company is using the Xbox 360 gaming peripheral to read sign language from deaf users, and translate it into spoken text.
How the Kinect translator can help?
The technology can convert sign language into words spoken by a computer and vice-versa. A non-deaf user can speak or type words into the Kinect translator. The system will then motion the words in sign language using a virtual avatar shown on a display. In early attempts to make such a device, researchers used cameras, and even “digital gloves”, to capture sign language gestures. But these devices are very costly. In contrast, the Kinect is a much cheaper and affordable choice.
Microsoft Research is working on this project in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Beijing Union University. So far, the Kinect translator can recognize 370 of the most popular words in Chinese Sign Language, and American Sign Language.
It is not yet certain when this technology will come in the market. Microsoft is still working on improving the language recognition technology, and it needs to expand the vocabulary of sign language the system recognizes to make it ready for its launch in the market.