New technology creates speech using hand gestures
Jenna Owsianik, ctvbc.ca
Published Sunday, February 19, 2012 6:47PM PST
Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a voice synthesizer that allows people to speak by simply moving their hands.
Johnty Wang, a master's student in electrical and computer engineering, is part of a team creating the Digital Ventriloquist Actor, or DiVA – a pair of special gloves equipped with 3D sensors that use gestures to convey sounds.
The movements of one glove create consonant sounds, while movements of the other control vowels and pitch.
The new technology could help people who are unable to verbally speak.
"It allows people who maybe can't speak in the traditional sense to still be able to vocalize. And this is different to sign language in that we are not necessarily creating meaning with gestures, but creating sound directly," Wang told CTV News.
The DiVA has also been used as an instrument by professional musicians.
"This is one path for new music, to be able to create speech and singing using gestures," Wang added.
Currently, the technology has some limitations. While the sounds and speech produced by the gloves are expressive, they are also robotic. It also takes about 100 hours to learn how to operate the system.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Nafeesa Karim