The Problem

Sign language is a useful tool for the hearing impaired and for those who are vocally challenged. However, it is still not widely known by the masses. Only 0.002% of the US population are able to use and understand sign language, where they may require interpreters to communicate their people’s messages.

The Opportunity

Sign language is a useful skill that is not widely known. Users who communicate mainly in sign language cannot rely on others knowing what they mean, with the average user not being able to translate what is being communicated.

Our Solution

Technology is rapidly evolving and real-time verbal translation on its way. Using the Leap Motion Controller, Interpretr. is able to translate sign language for non-verbal people to communicate without relying on an interpreter or the other person knowing sign language themselves.

How We Built It

Interpretr. was produced using the Java programming language and the Leap Motion API. These two technologies allowed our team to effectively use the Leap Motion Controller to create our prototype sign language interpreter. Additionally, Interpretr. uses the FreeTTS API to give aural feedback to the user when they successfully sign a specific phrase or word.

Challenges We Ran Into

The Leap Motion and FreeTTS API introduced many challenges in trying to develop our idea into fruition. Their lack of detail in their documentation made it more difficult to understand how to proceed with the project. After hours of research and personal attempts, our team was able to successfully create a working prototype using the tools provided.

Accomplishments That We Are Proud Of

  • Taking the initiative to learn new concepts and working with new technologies
  • Finishing a project from scratch within a tight deadline
  • Designing and developing for a real-world issue

What We Learned

  • Time management is vital to any successful project
  • Collaboration through the software development process is vital
  • Ideas don't always come immediately

What's Next for Interpretr.

  • Integrating Interpretr. into a mobile setting; allowing for easy sign language translation anywhere
  • Expanding the database to include the full spectrum of American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Allowing users to save commonly used custom phrases for easy communication
  • Introducing a speech-to-sign language feature to allow for communication in both directions

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