University of California San Diego engineer Timothy O'Connor led a team that developed a smart glove that turns the American Sign Language alphabet into text. The project used inexpensive off-the-shelf products totalling about $100.
The sensors change their electrical resistance when stretched or bent. This allows them to code for different letters of the American Sign Language alphabet based on the positions of all nine knuckles. A straight or relaxed knuckle is encoded as "0" and a bent knuckle is encoded as "1". When signing a particular letter, the glove creates a nine-digit binary key that translates into that letter. For example, the code for the letter "A" (thumb straight, all other fingers curled) is "011111111," while the code for "B" (thumb bent, all other fingers straight) is "100000000." Engineers equipped the glove with an accelerometer and pressure sensor to distinguish between letters like "I" and "J", whose gestures are different but generate the same nine-digit code.
They dubbed it "The Language of Glove," proving once again that engineers have an affinity for dad jokes.