We know that Filipinos are inventors and innovators! We created things that we have surely used at least once in our lives like the Yoyo, microchips, and banana catsup. Now, there is a new Filipino innovation in town — Smart Gloves that can convert Filipino Sign Language (FSL) into Speech.
A video posted on July 28, 2021 went viral for introducing a new Filipino innovation made by Rency Galan Dela Cruz, Klenn Arvin V. Alcibor, and Francis Anthony de Guzman, electrical engineering students from Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges (CSPC). The gloves were made for their thesis titled “Filipino Sign Language to Voice Converter” with other group members Joana Renz Gonzales Jimenez and Andrea Moran.
How was it made?
The gloves have flex sensors to detect finger movement and an MPU-6050 for the angular rotations of the hand. The gloves will send the collected data to a computer via Wi-Fi for processing.
These smart gloves are not actually a new technology. In 2012, a team of Ukrainian students invented similar gloves that can convert sign language into a speech by using a smartphone. In 2020, the University of California, Los Angeles’ (UCLA) bioengineers developed the same technology of translating American Sign Language into speech.
What’s new of course is now we have smart gloves that can convert Filipino Sign Language!
The Filipino Sign Language
In the Philippines, 1.23% of the population is either deaf, mute, or hearing-impaired. As of 2009, the total number of deaf or partially deaf is 517,536.
In 2018, the Philippine president signed the Filipino Sign Language Act into law declaring FSL as the national sign language of the Filipino Deaf. It also mandates its use in schools, broadcast media, and workplaces.
How can this innovation help others?
This new product could benefit a lot of Filipinos when it becomes accessible to those who need it. It will not only help the deaf and speech-impaired to communicate but also will increase awareness and teach how FSL is being used through its real-time speech conversion. As a result, it could help popularize FSL and be widely recognized in the Philippines.
How can understanding FSL benefit us?
Learning FSL will not only help the deaf, the hearing-impaired, and the mute community but the hearing people as well, this will somehow remove some barriers. It would make the communication a two-way process as it’s supposed to be! FSL users then will also experience fewer difficulties on how they will communicate with those who are not familiar with sign language.
The future of Filipino innovations!
These smart gloves were made for a college thesis project and though not yet for use by the public, it served its purpose by being part of the innovation to further improve the technology that can help the deaf and speech-impaired. We’re looking forward to the bright future of the gadget and its proponents.
Indeed, Filipinos are geniuses! From students who created the smart gloves for FSL even being under the pandemic, Solar windows, hybrid trimaran, ReliefVent! These feats should make every Filipinos proud!
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