For people with hearing and speech impairment, communication with the outside world is often an onerous task. Only members of their close circle of friends or immediate family make a genuine attempt at learning it.
When they step out into the job market, very few people try to learn sign language, and this creates real barriers to any sort progress in the professional sphere. Learning sign language isn’t easy, and it requires the same kind of aptitude and dedication needed to learn any spoken language.
Fortunately, there is an app on the way that could translate sign language into text and speech which will help society understand what people with speech and hearing impairments are communicating and vice versa. This app is being currently developed by a student-teacher duo from IIT-BHU, reports The New Indian Express.
The idea for this app was inspired by what 21-year-old Nikhil Dhaka, a fourth-year dual-degree student in biomedical engineering from IIT-BHU, did in a project for one of his courses. He initially developed an app that recognised hand gestures.
After assessing Dhaka’s project, his professor, Neeraj Sharma, who is also the HOD of the Biomedical Engineering Department, suggested that Dhaka could develop an app that could translate sign language, and thus smoothen the lines of communication between people with speech and hearing impairment vis-à-vis the general population.
If this app comes to fruition, it could revolutionise the way Indians with such disabilities could function in mainstream society.
“There are similar apps but they require some hardware, I’m trying to make this app completely independent of any hardware,” Dhaka told The New Indian Express.
At this moment, the app is in its development stage, and the aim is to bring it out in a year’s time. “There is still a slight delay in the translation, but we are working on it and trying to make it as accurate as possible,” Dhaka said.
For the moment, the app is restricted to translation via text. “We are also trying to translate sign language into speech as well and not just restrict it to text. That will be the next thing we work on after this,” Sharma said to the daily.