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Microsoft's Kinect Turns Sign Language Translator

Microsoft uses Kinect to interpret sign language, should the team's efforts reach commercialization, it could have a big effect on the world's Deaf population.


Microsoft’s Kinect technology, already adept at reading hand and body movements, is incorporating sign language into its motion-sensing vocabulary as part of a new research project meant to help the Deaf. Developers at Microsoft Research have been using the Xbox 360 gaming peripheral to read sign language from Deaf users, and translate it into spoken text.

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On Wednesday, they showed off some of the results. “Thanks Microsoft for turning my dream into a reality,” gestured Yin Dandan, a Deaf student, who demonstrated the Kinect translator.

The technology can not only turn sign language into words spoken by a computer, but also do the reverse. A non-Deaf user can speak or type words into the Kinect translator. The system will then motion the words in sign language using a virtual avatar shown on a display.

Microsoft Research demonstrated the technology as it celebrated the 15th year of its Asia division. language translation has been among one of its focuses and already researchers there have developed software that can artificially replicate a person’s voice, and have it speak other languages, including Chinese.

At the same time, the company has been promoting the use of Kinect among software developers in China, said Wu Guobin, a Microsoft Research program manager. The gadget has proven to be an ideal motion-sensing device for the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which has long been researching sign language recognition technology... Read The Full Story.

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