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When I was a kid, I used to have an irrational nagging fear that I would, at some point in my life, be left in a room full of deaf people who couldn’t understand what I was talking about. As an adult, the fear is still there, but deaf people have been replaced by people in a foreign country. But thankfully, technology will always be there to allay all irrational fears, while making rational fears much more commonplace. The Sign Language Ring, winner of the 2013 RedDot Design Award, sounds like it could feasibly be the epitome of translation-themed tech. So long as you don’t mind wearing a little bit of smart jewelry. And it’ll be a while before we can start beaming ideas into each other’s brains, so gets your fingers nimble.
Here’s how the rings work, in a nutshell. There are three detatchable rings that are worn on the the thumb and first two fingers of each hand, as well as a bracelet. As the user signs out whatever they want to say, the translation is then spoken through a digitized voice that comes from the bracelet. I’m not sure if it works real time or not, but that’s still some pretty amazing stuff. And that’s not all.
The gesture-to-speak aspect works fine when the hearing-impaired person wants to talk to someone else, but what about vice versa? The bracelet carries the double duty of turning sound into text that runs across an LED display. It seems like the only thing these guys have left to do is actually make people hear again. Take a look at a few of the photos of the device below.
Hell, if that bracelet also told time, I’d wear it as a watch, even without knowing sign language. I like jet-black designs. I’m a simple person who likes technical watches. Their design was inspired by Buddhist prayer beads, which definitely don’t have speaking capabilities.
In case you were wondering if flipping your middle finger or making devil horns could be recognized by the device, you’re in luck. Users are able to add their own customizable gestures for whatever word they choose. Got some nerdy deaf friends who know Klingon? Here’s a future Christmas present.
We’ve seen bulky gloves and camera devices that have translated sign language, but I kind of think this one is the best for everyday use in any location. Well, maybe not at a concert. Or a funeral. “It’s alive!”