MotionSavvy UNI translates sign language to voice

The holy grail of technology is the facilitation of communication across any and all languages. While we’re a far, far away from some magical device capable of that, there are some companies trying their best to attempt a solution. MotionSavvy presents one such attempt in their debut product, the UNI.

UNI is a communication tool for deaf people that allows them transform their signing to speech in real time. Others will be able to respond and the tablet can transform speech to text for the deaf party to read; speech directly to sign language is a feature they’re working on but is still not yet available. The device itself is comprised of a case that houses a Leap Motion to enable accurate sign recognition, but unfortunately only supports the Dell Venue Pro 8 for now, although MotionSavvy is working on iOS and Android versions.

The UNI’s additional features really make the platform shine. Users can describe and record new signs that are saved in a dictionary, periodically updating for all users — a crowd created dictionary of sorts. In addition, the product can also teach sign language, too. The company’s most impressive accomplishment, though, is having access to all of the signing and recognition capabilities without an Internet connection; anything otherwise would have pretty much killed this product. MotionSavvy is looking for $40,000 to continue testing and refining the product to have in hands by the end of 2015. Interested backers can pay $99 now and $99 at the time of shipping in order to get a hold of one.

Health and Wellness

iseewhatyousay seeks to ease communication with deaf and hearing-impaired

The Premise. Hearing loss is an issue that affects 10% of the world population, and it remains a significant barrier for human communication. Often times, hearing loss comes later in life, and it can thus be a difficult obstacle to overcome having not learned sign language.

The Product. The iseewhatyousay is a small and simple device that makes it easier for people with hearing loss to communicate in a one on one conversation. Currently available only for Android users, the iseewhatyousay is a speech-to-text reader that displays the text of a conversation to person with hearing loss. The person speaking holds down a button within the iseewhatyousay app on their phone, and it shows up on the screen of the device almost immediately. The goal is to make conversation smooth and effortless.

The Pitch. On the Kickstarter page, little is mentioned about what the device actually does or how it works. There’s a video that shows the creator and his father having a conversation with a prototype of the iseewhatyousay, but that conversation seems slow and labored.

The Perks. The iseewhatyousay is relatively cheap at only $50, with an expected delivery of July 2014. There are options for those who want to help produce these devices with contributions in the thousands.

The Potential. The iseewhatyousay has the best intentions in mind and the product’s eventual small form factor could be an advantage, but this product faces significant hurdles. The creators have not yet created a refined product ready for mass production and the product’s featured could be handled and far surpassed by the cheapest of used smartphones, There are countless of other speech-to-text devices available, and there are certainly alternative and more effective solutions for people with hearing loss.