High-Tech “Smart Glove” Translates Sign Language to Spoken Word

July 12, 2016Posted by Linda Hernandez

You may have heard of smart cars, smart cleaning robots, and of course, smartphones.

We’ve just caught wind of a new device that a woman named Hadeel Ayoub hopes will help revolutionize the way the deaf community communicates: the smart glove.

A designer and academic, Ayoub developed her “Bright Sign Glove” to help translate sign language from hand gestures to a visual text display, to be able to “speak” with those who don’t sign. 

Her innovation won her second place in the Wearable Technology Show this year in London, and she’s registered for a patent for her design, with the goal of  being able to send out some gloves as Christmas gifts this year.

Seventy million people use sign language as the primary means of communication, but that presents a certain challenge: trying to communicate with those who don’t speak sign language, or those who don’t speak American Sign Language. To help translate, her design uses flex sensors attached to the glove that correspond with each fingers’ movements.

The motion sensors detect bends and curvatures, which are identified and transcribed from sign language letters into words and sentences.


In recent prototypes, code was added to include a text-to-speech function, which lets the glove ‘speak out’ and facilitate communication between the hearing, speech, and visually impaired. The output voice includes options for female, male, or child, in either English or Spanish.

The glove is currently being tested on people with various types of disability to incorporate the users’ feedback before going into production.

Ayoub says development plans include equipping the glove with a wifi chip to connect to smart phones and tablets, to allow users to send emails and texts.


Currently, Ayoub teaches undergraduate studies, while working on her Ph.D. in Arts and Computational Technology at Goldsmiths University of London. Ayoub has studied creative coding and her interest in physical computing led to her design of the sign language glove.

Ayoub was featured in Google’s 2016 International Women’s Day video, where girls and women in 13 cities around the world were asked to complete the sentence “One Day I Will…”.

She responded: “One day I will give voice to those who can’t speak.”

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