Speech to Robotic Sign Language

According to Alex Foley’s recent Medium post, though there have been amazing advances to help people communicate across language barriers, sign language hasn’t received the same sort of attention. His article notes that there are around 70 million people worldwide who communicate this way as their first language.

Foley, along with Clive Chan, Colin Daly, and Wilson Wu, decided to explore this challenge during the McHacks hackathon at McGill University in Montreal. What they produced was an animatronic device using a multitude of servos attached to two 3D-printed hands to sign words.

Human input is accomplished via a computer that translates speech into text, then into sign language with help from a couple Arduino boards. The aptly named SignBot can also mirror another person’s hands using Leap Motion, perhaps opening up other interesting applications.

You can read more about the impressive project in Foley’s write-up, and see demos of SignBot below!