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Kenyan Inventor Creates Gloves That Help Translate Sign Language to Speech

A garment piece can now communicate how you feel and what one may need during the most frigid times thanks to one Kenyan inventor.

Roy Allela provided an accessibility solution with his newly invented smart gloves, which are officially called Sign-IO. The gloves give the hearing impaired and deaf the ability to communicate with folks who don’t know sign language.

Allela was inspired to develop this technology after needing a way to communicate with his then-six-year-old niece, who was born deaf according to

“My niece wears the gloves, parses them to her phone or mine, then starts signing and I’m able to understand what she’s saying,” Allela told ADC.

Allela believes the real power is the speed at which the signs are vocalized.

“People speak at different speeds, and it’s the same with people who sign – some are really fast, others are slow, so we integrated that into the mobile application so that it’s comfortable for anyone to use it,” Allela continued.

Additionally, the gloves can also be customized to fit different color schemes, such as Spider-Man.

“It fights the stigma associated with being deaf and having a speech impediment. If the gloves look cool, every kid will want to know why you have them on, “ he said.

Allela and Sign-IO in 2018 won the Hardware Trailblazer Award during the American Society of Mechanical Engineers global finals contest.

His goal is to expand the product across Kenya in an effort to assist with learning and accessibility equity for hearing-impaired children.


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