The top place for the 10th annual Microsoft Imagine Cup was won by a Ukrainian team of students for a pair of sensory gloves, called EnableTalk. The gloves use sensors to translate hand gestures from sign language into speech, designed to help deaf and mute people communicate through verbal language.
Equipped with flex sensors, touch sensors, gyroscopes and accelerometers, the gloves work with a Bluetooth-enabled Windows Phone and Microsoft’s Speech and Bing APIs to translate hand gestures. Team member Osika Maxim said that their idea to develop the gloves came about from needing to interact with hearing-impaired athletes at their school in Ukraine.
Other products that are more or less comparable to EnableTalk have fewer sensors, use more wires and aren’t powered by software, still costing around $1,200. The team said that the parts for EnableTalk prototypes only cost about $75 per device. Over 350 students from 75 countries participated this year with the Ukrainian team being awarded a grand prize of $25,000 for placing first.