Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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"Voice" To Speech Gloves

For the deaf-mutes among us.
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To assist communication between the deaf and the hearing, humans have developed many hundreds of "universal" sign languages, that allow people who are deaf- mute to communicate with those of us who have learned one or more of those sign languages.

To simplify matters further, UBCo Labs have been working on a special pair of electronic gloves that allow the wearer to "speak" in any of the hundreds of known sign languages, using preprogramming of gestures and accelerometers to translate the language's gestures to the spoken word then to convey them as spoken language to the listener by way of a small speaker or even to a bluetooth headset like those used for mobile communications.

Adoption of this idea may see it challenge the rise to prominence of English as the principal language of the world.

UnaBubba, Jul 17 2012

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       'I thought what I'd do is, I'd become one of those deaf- mutes.'   

       I can think of at least one universal sign that requires little or no translation throughout most first-world nations, but I suppose this would come in handy if you actually wanted to be nice to somebody. Bun.
Alterother, Jul 17 2012
  

       There are quite a few "universal" gestures that hardly need translation. However, the sheer number of languages out there means many people cannot understand a large proportion of the world's increasingly globalised population. Being able to (reasonably) smoothly translate any one of hundreds of sign languages into spoken language would be a Good Thing.   

       It would also provide a large number of "signers" lucrative work.
UnaBubba, Jul 17 2012
  

       Could be tricky. Sign language has its own linguistic rules, idioms, puns, common phrases, etc. which don't always translate well.
RayfordSteele, Jul 17 2012
  

       All languages have those, as do all dialects of all languages.
UnaBubba, Jul 18 2012
  

       This is really two different functions rolled into one. It is a symbol to speech application (as text to speech) and a translation application. The former is probably fairly simple, but the latter is still iffy, as google translate readily demonstrates.   

       This does mean that something like Manual Sign English or Pidgin Sign English to spoken english would be relatively simple, as that is pretty much only the former application (with the addition of some simple, context evident filler words in the case of PSE).   

       American Sign Language to spoken english, for instance, would require both steps, since it truly is a different language. I do not believe the technology for this yet exists (at least in a form that produces clear speech in near real time).
MechE, Jul 19 2012
  

       I'm looking forward to the hack, via bluetooth, where someone manages to replace "politician" in the dictionary with a most unflattering hand gesture.   

       And don't be alarmed when you find your hands signing "I am a Nigerian prince needing to transfer my money out of the country..." just install the updated security patch..
not_morrison_rm, Jul 20 2012
  
      
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