The lines between medical technology, consumer technology, and language sure are getting blurry. We have in the past written about medical applications of the Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, Wii Balance Board, and iPhone. And the trend is accelerating.
The latest advance comes from Microsoft thanks to its latest Kinect. Medgadget mentioned a while ago how the "Kinect, particularly the latest generation model, has an uncanny ability to detect slight variations in motion and color changes, allowing software to track minute movements necessary to express oneself with sign language. The new system reads sign and immediately prints out the translated text on the screen, but it can also do the opposite, generating an avatar that signs from the text typed to it."
A recent paper from Microsoft Research Connections demonstrates this capability. Sign Language Recognition and Translation with Kinect is discussed on Microsoft Research's blog. According to the post:
In this project—which is being shown during the DemoFest portion of Faculty Summit 2013, which brings more than 400 academic researchers to Microsoft headquarters to share insight into impactful research—the hand tracking leads to a process of 3-D motion-trajectory alignment and matching for individual words in sign language. The words are generated via hand tracking by theKinect for Windows software and then normalized, and matching scores are computed to identify the most relevant candidates when a signed word is analyzed.It's fascinating to see different fields converging to improve thousands and thousands of lives around the world!
The algorithm for this 3-D trajectory matching, in turn, has enabled the construction of a system for sign-language recognition and translation, consisting of two modes. The first, Translation Mode, translates sign language into text or speech. The technology currently supports American sign language but has potential for all varieties of sign language.
[Hat tip to Medgadget]
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