Assistive Technology | News
Brigham Young Researchers Develop Google Glass System for Deaf Students
Brigham Young University
(BYU) researchers have developed a system to project sign language interpreters onto
Google Glass and other similar types of glasses.
The "Signglasses" project was developed to improve the planetarium experience
for deaf students. Typically, when deaf students visit the planetarium, they
can't see the sign language interpreter and the overhead projections at the same
time because the lights have to be on to see the interpreter and off to see the
projection. With Signglasses, deaf students can watch the planetarium projection
at the same time as they watch the interpreter projected onto their glasses.
The research team has field tested the system with students from Jean Massieu
School for the Deaf. The researchers were surprised to discover that students
preferred the interpreter to be projected in the center of one lens, so they
could look straight through the signer when focusing on the planetarium show.
The team had assumed students would prefer to see the projection at the top of
the lens, as Google Glass normally does.
The Signglasses project is lead by Michael Jones, assistant professor of
computer science at BYU, and several of the student researchers working with him
are deaf. "Having a group of students who are fluent in sign language here at
the university has been huge," said Jones in a prepared statement. "We got
connected into that community of fluent sign language students and that opened a
lot of doors for us."
The team is also working with researchers at
Georgia Tech to explore the potential of Signglasses as a literacy tool.
With the technology, when deaf students encounter new words in books, they could
push a button, and a video dictionary would project a definition of the word in
The full results of the Signglasses research project will be published in
June at Interaction Design
Further information about the project can be viewed in a
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].