Thanks to the diligence of a team of Scottish researchers, the ability to translate sign language directly into text or sound is fast becoming possible on a wide scale.
Showcasing a variety of tricks and functions, the Portable Sign Language Translator has the ability to visually read and determine sign language gestures and from there, can convert them into the appropriate text or audio. This technology, which will be of great use to those who are deaf or hard of hearing and rely on sign language, aims to provide an increased level of communication for those who do not use traditional methods of communication.
Translating the messages in real time, the PSLT allows for instantaneous communication without the need of a human being to translate. The goal of this software is to improve the lives and quality of living of those who are deaf or sign language-reliant by allowing them to not have to feel isolated when out in public.
Currently, there are sign language platforms that offer services; Ntouch, for example, uses real-life translators to relay translated messages through video calls. PSLT takes that one step further and gives the user the ability to be completely independent and spontaneous.
While the PSLT is a standalone device, the company that is deploying it (Technabling) plans on releasing software that will ultimately function as apps on all major smartphone platforms. It is even possible that the technology may find itself fully-integrated with phones on deployment as a form of communication assistance.