‘Talking glove’ developed to help people with speech impediments

'Revolutionary' glove gives a voice to people isolated by speech impediments

A 'revolutionary' glove engineered by graduates from the University of Sheffield is helping to give a voice to people with severe speech impediments.

The lightweight, low cost speech aid works by converting simple finger movements into gestures which control speech through a synthesised voice. The user simply wears the glove and moves their fingers in order to articulate more than 1,000 words or commands.

Graduates Vinoth Gurasamy, Kalhana Colombage and Hossein Mohanna initially constructed a prototype of the device for the university's annual Enterprising Ideas Business Planning Competition. After scooping first prize, Vinoth and Hossein launched Ecofriendly Technologies, and with the help of Kalhana, developed the gadget further to increase its word bank and week-long battery life.

Colombage, who is currently studying for a PhD in electronic engineering, said: "The glove weighs approximately 100g, has a battery life which lasts one week and costs around £700. Although similar devices are available they are heavier and more expensive – a device with a spec of over 1,000 words or commands with a battery life of one day usually costs more than £2,000. These also have a very large screen and cannot be used in lots of everyday situations such as buying a bus ticket."

Gurasamy added: "Our glove blends into the users' clothes and unlike devices with a screen they never need to scroll through pages and pages to find the right word – with our device any word is a second away making it one of the fastest communication devices in the world."

Author
Laura Hopperton

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