It is estimated that there are approximately 30 million people around the world who are speech impaired and therefore rely on the use of sign language to be able to communicate with others. Not everyone understands sign language, so for someone who is speech impaired it will obviously be difficult for them to communicate what they want to say.
In steps Roy Allela, a 25-year old man from Kenya who has created an invention that’ll solve this problem: Smart Gloves. These gloves are able to convert sign language into audio speech, meaning that a person who does not know sign language would be able to communicate much more effectively with those with speaking difficulties.
Allela says that he was inspired to create these gloves by his 6-year old deaf niece, who uses the gloves to communicate with him. Each of these gloves contains sensors in the fingertips which detect the movement being made once connected to the mobile application created also by Allela to work in tandem with it. Once connected and upon a movement being made, the corresponding letter or word comes out as audio speech.
One of the most important features about this product according to Allela is the speed of the audio. He says: “People speak at different speeds and it’s the same with people who sign – others are really fast, others are slow, so we integrated that into the mobile application so that it’s comfortable for anyone to use it.”
Inventors like Roy Allela are the people that the black community needs to push, push and push some more. These are the kind of inventions that get swept up by someone else claiming it was theirs and getting all the rewards from it as well as being recognised as the creator. Take Thomas Edison for example, the ‘creator’ of the light bulb. The innovation used to create longer, more efficient light bulbs with the carbon filament that we use today was created by an African-American man, Lewis Latimer. He’s often the one who gets overshadowed and forgotten about but without him, there would be no light bulb.
With this being said, it is important that we as a community give Roy Allela the recognition and exposure his invention deserves. It has incredible potential and is something that a lot of people, maybe even 30 million people, will be able to benefit from. Click here to see a video of the gloves in action.
Written by Lore Adekeye (Twitter: @loreadekeye, Instagram: @shemz_nl)