Gloves that turn sign language into audible speech: developing world

Roy Allela is a twenty-five-year-old Kenyan engineer and innovator.  He has created a set of gloves to allow better communication between deaf and hearing people.

The Sign-IO gloves have sensors on each finger that can detect the positioning of each finger.  This identifies hand shapes forming signs.  Then translating, the signs into audible speech via Bluetooth to an Android phone.

Where did the idea for the invention come from?


The young engineer’s inspiration came from his personal experience with his deaf niece. She can now connect the gloves with a phone then start signing.  Her family and friends can now understand what she’s saying.

The invention is an exciting concept.  Supporting communication from signed to spoken language.  As with all technology, it needs to be used sensibly and not be used to replace humans.  There is always a concern that technology could replace the need for communicating directly.

It also needs to consider two-way communication.  Specifically how the deaf person is then communicated back to.

Where I feel the need is most prevalent is precisely where the inventor has intended – in the developing world, where deaf children rarely get access to communication, as due to the lack of schools available, they will mostly be amongst hearing peers and are often isolated at school. This feeling of Isolation is also prevalent at home – as families have little education, no access to information and no knowledge about the educational options for their deaf child.

I will certainly follow this cause with interest, as it will be fascinating to see what happens next.

These are the sorts of projects I am super interested in for the future!

photo of two people one of them shows red glove able to sign