Here’s how the hearing impaired can now communicate

An electric glove which can convert sign language into text and speech is just one item the Dubai Police is looking to introduce to its range of smart services, to help aid its communication with the deaf community.

Designed and produced by four Emirati graduates from the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), the wireless, sign language translation glove, called ‘Deaf’s Dream Smart Glove’, caught the eye of Dubai Police back in April.

“We participated in the Think Science Fair earlier this year and we won first prize in the ‘Health and Biomedical Systems’ category,” Hessa Al Shehi, one of the designers told Khaleej Times at the Dubai Police stand at Gitex Technology Week.

But even before bagging the winning title, Al Shehi, who designed the product with her college friends Aisha Al Suamimi, Asyya Al Shehi and Basma Mohammed, said the Dubai Police already showed interest in the communication aid.

“They approached us and said they wanted us to exhibit the project at their headquarters and help us develop it. It was a big moment for us and not something we expected.”

Currently working on the prototype, the wireless one-handed smart glove system translates 26 letters and common words of the American Sign Language into text and speech. It can then be viewed on a smartphone or computer.

Available via Bluetooth using a developed mobile application, Al Suamimi said the thinking behind it is to help solve the main communication issues that arise between deaf people and the hearing community – Police.

“The long-term goal is to implement it into the Dubai Police Smart Services Centres. It will give these people the independence to report issues to the police themselves.”

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Dr Soud Alrumiathi, Dubai Police – Determined Ones Council, said they are keen to support and develop the glove.

“So far the team only has one glove, but we want to help develop it further and roll it out across out smart services platforms. We are not only empowering Emirati engineers through the development of their product, but also empowering the determined one’s community in Dubai.”