Science and Tech


Idea For 'Google Gesture' Would Translate Sign Language

A new Google app called Gesture was announced this week. It allows sign language to translate into speech in realtime.
Posted at 3:51 PM, Jun 21, 2014

According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are about 70 million people around the globe who use sign language as their mother tongue. (Via Flickr / daveynin

Would you be able to communicate with them? 

Well, if the answer is no — a group of students came up with a concept for a new app they call Google Gesture that could help. 

"Google Gesture can identify exactly which sign you're making. The information is then sent to the Google Gesture application." (Via Vimeo / August Östberg)

In theory, it would come with a pair of wrist bands that help track the motions and send them to the Gesture app. Those motions would then be translated into speech in real time. 

Students at the Berghs School of Communication in Sweden helped come up with the idea for the app "as a way to enable signed conversation with those who don't use sign language." (Via Gizmodo

The idea even won a prestigious Future Lions award at the Cannes Lions Festival Wednesday. 

According to Ad Age there were almost 2,000 participants in the festival. VP-chief creative officer at ad agency, AKQA, said, "We were blown away by the caliber of submissions and the winning teams rose to the challenge by providing concepts that not only inspire marketers, but help brands connect with their consumers in a way that has never been seen before." 

Google does have Google Translate which enables people to communicate in different languages and turns speech into text. 

But if Gesture comes to fruition it would be a first for Google with real-time sign language translation. 

Corrections have been made from the original version.