Google Translate has been around for some time, but there's a new concept that could see Google translating sign language with a pair of arm bands. The bands, as described by students at Berghs School of Communication in Stockholm in coordination with Google, are able to track the motions and gestures of the wearer and translate those instantly into spoken language. They're calling it Google Gesture.
The system would work thanks to the structure of the human body and electromyography (monitoring of electrical activity in the muscles). The muscles that control every joint in your fingers and wrist stretch all the way back to your elbow, and by wrapping an electrical sensor-laden band around the forearm Google Gesture would determine which joints are moving and in which manner.
Once you know that, it's relatively simple to figure out what the wearer is saying, which combined with an app can translate the sign language gestures of the wearer into spoken speech in real time. Combined with Google's already existing translation tools, Google Gesture could even translate gestures from one language into the spoken word of another. It's an impressive and innovative concept for sure, especially if it can be used in so unobtrusive of a manner to potentially revolutionize the communications of the mute.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Google was behind the Google Gesture arm bands, though it now seems more likely that this is a mock-up project from the marketing students at Berghs. Still, it's an impressive and out-of-the-box idea, no?