SCAN­NING THE SIGNS

Southeast Asia Globe - - Next / The Latest In Health, Science And Tech -

A pair of high school­ers from Ho Chi Minh City claim to have come up with their own smart­phone-linked "speak­ing glove" that can trans­late sign lan­guage hand sig­nals into text and speech. Pham Tien Tan and Chu Hoang Minh Duc, from Le Hong Phong High School for gifted stu­dents, re­ceived the most pres­ti­gious award for high school­ers in the na­tion's south at the re­cent Viet­nam Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Fair. They told state me­dia that a se­ries of awk­ward in­ter­ac­tions with mem­bers of Viet­nam's deaf-mute com­mu­nity had in­spired them to take mat­ters into their own hands. “When I tried to talk with deaf and mute peo­ple, I dis­cov­ered that I was com­mu­ni­ca­tion-im­paired my­self," 17-year-old Tan said. "I did not un­der­stand the sign lan­guage that they were us­ing, while most of them could un­der­stand what oth­ers were say­ing by read­ing mouth move­ments." The glove, which is said to be ca­pa­ble of trans­lat­ing more than 30 dif­fer­ent hand ges­tures into words rang­ing from 'love' to 'Viet­nam', was ap­par­ently be­ing de­signed con­cur­rently with a sim­i­lar ini­tia­tive de­buted last year by a pair of US col­lege stu­dents at MIT. The young Viet­namese physics ma­jors are now work­ing on com­ing up with a way to string in­di­vid­ual signs into full sen­tences.

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