UNI: A Device That Converts Sign Language To Speech

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student using UNI with teacher

Remember MotionSavvy, the company that was working on creating a device that would convert sign language into speech so the deaf and hard of hearing could use it on a daily basis even with people who don’t know sign language? Well, the same company is launching a crowdfunding campaign to make this product a reality and bring it to the masses!

The device, UNI, will retail for $799 but early bird prices start at $499.  After hearing feedback from the deaf community, UNI’s early bird price will be $198 (pay $99 now and $99 when UNI is shipped), and it will retail for $499 instead of $799.

Read the press release below to get a detailed understanding of what all UNI can do. It is expected to ship in Fall 2015.

Check out their Indiegogo page  and website for more details and to support them!

MotionSavvy Announces Crowdfunding Campaign to Build UNI, the First Device That Allows Both Deaf and Hearing Communities to Naturally Communicate with Each Other

First of its kind device translates sign language into audio and spoken word to text, finally empowering the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to lead full lives and boundless careers.
ALAMEDA, Calif. — October 21, 2014 — Can you imagine being held back in your career or having a hard time meeting new people because you were unable to talk to those around you? For the Deaf community this is an everyday struggle. That’s why today, MotionSavvy is officially launching its pre-order campaign for UNI, the world’s first mobile device that enables the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to communicate with the world around them.
To see how UNI can impact lives, watch a video of how it works here:

For the 370 million Deaf people in the world and the roughly 3.7 billion others that engage with them, communication is often frustrating or awkward. And with interpreter services being a luxury that many cannot afford, most Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals are forced to rely on clunky and degrading forms of communication–like typing out messages on their smartphones or frantically jotting down thoughts with a pen and paper–to express their needs.

Enter UNI, the first technology of its kind that utilizes motion gesture recognition to translate sign

image shows how UNI in action

language to audio and spoken word to text in real time. Built by a team of Deaf and Hard of Hearing engineers from Rochester Institute of Technology with design and programming experiences from Nintendo, Microsoft, Railcomm, Inc., and ZVRS. UNI aims to empower the Deaf community with the choice to live the lifestyles they desire at home, in public, at work or in school.

UNI is comprised of three parts: a tablet, a smart case, and a mobile app. The device works without an Internet connection to help the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communicate anywhere at anytime.
Here’s what UNI does:
  • Translates sign language into audible speech: Powered by motion gesture recognition technologies, UNI translates signs into audible speech for hearing individuals.
  • Converts spoken word to written text: Using voice recognition technology, UNI identifies audible speech and converts it to text for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals.
  • Recognizes your signing: Every person signs a little differently, even if they sign in the same language. The smart recognition feature allows users to train their device to recognize different gestures by adding new signs and words to the MotionSavvy Sign Language Database.

Gets smarter with every use through crowdsigning: Did you know sign language is not universal, and even American Sign Language consists of different dialects and accents? Just like Wikipedia crowdsources information, MotionSavvy adds new terms and gestures to its Sign Language Database as more people use it. This means UNI will get smarter over time to provide the most accurate translations.
“Many Deaf people live in isolation, and isolation is a dangerous mindset,” said Ryan Hait-Campbell, CEO and co-founder of MotionSavvy. “We want to open up the rest of the world to the Deaf community and give them the opportunity to go about their lives with confidence and accomplish dreams that were once thought to be impossible. UNI could make the difference for a Deaf person getting paid minimum wage as a retail backroom stocker to earning a six-figure salary as an investment banker.”
MotionSavvy is partnering with Indiegogo to launch its pre-order campaign today, with a goal to raise $100,000 to understand market fit and begin manufacturing. UNI will retail for $799, but early bird pricing starts at $499 while limited supplies last, and is expected to ship in the Fall of 2015. To learn more and pre-order a UNI, visit: www.motionsavvy.com.
About MotionSavvy
MotionSavvy is a company of Deaf and Hard of Hearing young professionals and students who are on a mission to help expand the range of communication for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing people around the world using advanced motion sensor technology. The company’s first product is UNI, the mobile communication device that translates sign language to audio and spoken language to text in real-time. Founded in 2013, MotionSavvy is headquartered in Alameda, CA.

2 Comments

  1. When I first heard of this "Uni" device, I was floored. FINALLY there's a method for the speech and/or hearing impaired community to partake in efficient verbal communication with the "able-bodied" population. As for myself, I became speech-impaired a few years ago, and have since relied on text-to-speech software programs, email, text massaging, and even the traditional pen+paper method to communicate. I have long refrained from the idea of teaching myself sign language — before I heard about "Uni," it was my belief that it would be a waste of time and energy to learn sign because the vast majority of people out there do not understand it, and thus there would be no point. "Uni," however, has the potential to change all this — if what I hear about sign language being an efficient and relatively quick manner of communication is correct, this Uni device might allow me to communicate faster than using my usual text-to-speech software programs. I certainly hope so, as I have now begun teaching myself ASL so I can test out the Uni.

  2. It's great that you started learning ASL to test out UNI! Did you pre-order one? I see a lot of potential in this device, and the general consensus (that I have seen) is that people are really looking forward to this device! It's also nice to see that the company slashed the prices after listening to the deaf community.

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