- Roy Allela, 25, has developed a special technology that uses a bluetooth-enabled smartphone and a mobile app to decode sign language into audible speech
- His invention was inspired by burning urge he had to communicate with his niece, who was born deaf
- The technology has a score of 93% in terms of accuracy and it has so far won him global recognition
Communicating with a deaf or blind person has never been an easy process, more especially if one is not a master of sign language or Braille.
Owing to this challenge, the world has been trying to make communication with the hearing- and visually-impaired people easy and fast but progress has been slow, more especially in developing countries.
However, Roy Allela, a youthful Kenyan innovator, is determined to bridge the gap and has managed to invent gloves that decode sign language into audible speech.
Allela's push to develop the technology was informed by a burning urge to communicate with his six-yearold niece, who was born deaf.
The budding technologist explained that his invention uses smart gloves with high -ech sensors (worn by a sign language user) and a bluetooth-enabled smartphone.
The two gadgets are controlled using a special mobile application (Sign-IO), which gives a user an interactive platform where he/she can customise audio feedback.
"My niece wears the gloves, pairs them to her phone or mine, then starts signing and I’m able to understand what she’s saying.
"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,” the scientist states.
Allela is among 16 young Africans who have been shortlisted by The Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for inventors from six countries set to benefit from training, funding and mentoring for projects intended to change the agriculture and health sectors.
In 2017, the invention won Allela the Hardware Trailblazer award from the prestigious American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
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