Scientists design low-cost smart glove capable of wirelessly translating sign language

Scientists have created a low-cost smart glove capable of wirelessly translating sign language into text and controlling objects in virtual reality games. The device, called ''The Language of Glove,'' uses stretchable and printable electronics that are inexpensive, commercially available and easy to assemble and cost less than $100 to build.

''Gesture recognition is just one demonstration of this glove's capabilities,'' said Timothy O'Connor, a PhD student at the University of California San Diego. ''Our ultimate goal is to make this a smart glove that in the future will allow people to use their hands in virtual reality, which is much more intuitive than using a joystick and other existing controllers,'' a PTI report said.

''This could be better for games and entertainment, but more importantly for virtual training procedures in medicine, for example, where it would be advantageous to actually simulate the use of one's hands,'' he said.

What makes the glove unique are the sensors made from stretchable materials and the fact that it was inexpensive and simple to manufacture. ''We've innovated a low-cost and straightforward design for smart wearable devices using off-the-shelf components,'' said Darren Lipomi, a professor at UC San Diego.

''Our work could enable other researchers to develop similar technologies without requiring costly materials or complex fabrication methods,'' said Lipomi, senior author of the study published in the journal PLOS ONE.

The sensors change their electrical resistance when stretched or bent which allows them to code for different letters of the American Sign Language alphabet on the basis of the positions of all nine knuckles. The glove encodes a straight knuckle as "0" and a bent knuckle is encoded as "1". While signing a particular letter, the glove creates a nine-digit binary key that translates into that letter, for instance, the code for the letter "A" (thumb straight, all other fingers curled) is "011111111," while the code for "B" (thumb bent, all other fingers straight) is "100000000."