Hadeel Ayoub presents its innovative glove BrightSign at the Viva Tech Show
By developing a revolutionary and marketable technology, Hadeel Ayoub aims to put innovations at the service of disabled people. BrightSign is a smart glove that enables non-verbal people to get in touch with others who cannot understand sign language.
Brightsign is an amazing accessory… And an essential one! The new vital in your wardrobe, finally available for deaf or speechless people, and for all the others too! This smart glove is also very simple and useful. It is used for translating hand gestures into verbal speeches and thus proposes to create a communicative bridge between the hard of hearing and mute persons, people with speech disabilities, as well as to all of those who do not understand sign language.
Originally, a pressing social need
What Hadeel Ayoub started as a simple study while completing her PhD project, was finally turned into a technological revolution, a nugget that she presented at Viva Technology Show in Paris last May. « As I was testing with groups in schools and speech therapy clinics, I kept being asked about when this technology is going to be developed in the market », explains Hadeel Ayoub. In response to this pressing demand, Hadeel fought for financing and partnerships to produce and commercialize BrightSign on a large scale to make it available to all.
The need for accurate, functional and above all reasonably-priced technology was so pressing that Hadeel did not hesitate. In the world, 466 million people, or 5% of the total population, have hearing and verbal impairments, preventing them from communicating with others. Among them, only 70 million people use sign language as their main language and have access to either a strong education in that language, or to assistive technologies, which are often very expensive.
Simplicity, for the everyday life of all and the promotion of living together in harmony
This is a technology with a very strong human impact, since it aims to “free people and make them independent through two-way communication where eye contact can be maintained”, Hadeel declares. That’s why she wanted to develop technology that can be used by children at school or in the park, and connect them with other children or adults. It required a device which works faster than translators, which is both practical and transportable, which could also be worn by the staff of hospitals, airports or all these public spaces that are currently inadequate.
The glove, although it presents a very advanced technology with smart sensors incorporated, is very simply and intuitive to use. That is already quite a revolution! In addition to being discreet and suitable for all occasions, it is customizable! Indeed, BrightSign has a microscopic computer hardware, which allows its wearer to record and name his own gesture. This is the biggest innovation that BrightSign has brought, compared to its predecessors which are rather equipped with a library of preinstalled gestures. Taking into account the variations in movements, as well as the great disparities of the motor skills of each person, this new technology makes it possible to obtain 97% accuracy compared to the competitors.
And BrightSign goes even further, adapting to the body language of everyone, since each gesture can be converted into a word, and therefore into speech. It allows communication even with those who do not speak sign language in particular, but who speak with their hands in general.
An accessible technology
Compared to other equipment already available in the market, Hadeel has made every effort to make the device accessible first to those who need it the most, and also to the greatest number of people: an essential issue if we want to promote communication between all individuals. Thus, this equipment, which usually costs several thousands dollars, only costs a hundred here.
Thanks to funding won at the AXA Health Tech and You competition, as well as contributions from groups like IBM or Booking.com and from states like China and South Korea, BrightSign can be very easily accessible. With $1.4 million raised for the launch of the glove and the care taken to choose her production and distribution partners, Hadeel will be able to distribute BrightSign to educational institutions and support services for the deficient and nonverbal persons, for free.
Technology that goes even further
While the assistive technology sector remains her favorite field, her genius idea goes far beyond and could be used in many other fields. Moreover, Hadeel Ayoub has already been approached by representatives of these other sectors, such as motion capture, virtual reality games and defense ministries.
Her big dream was to build a technology which has the power to change the lives of millions of people. By bridging the gaps in the most vital link in society – communication – Brightsign aims to achieve a more inclusive society. The recipe is simple: an entrepreneurial spirit, pragmatism, in addition to medical engineering, are the few ingredients necessary to develop an innovative and committed assistive technology.