Microsoft Kinect can help deaf people use sign language on the computer, translate gestures into text or speech

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When Microsoft releases the Xbox One this November, it’ll come packaged with the next-generation of the Kinect sensor. It’ll be more accurate than ever and do things that weren’t even possible on the previous hardware — such as reading your heartbeat.

But that doesn’t mean the current Kinect is useless. In fact, this latest study shows that it can be extremely useful to handicapped people that heavily rely on sign language.

Despite the fact that people constantly complain about the motion controller’s inaccuracies when playing video games, it turns out it’s perfectly capable of reading sign language. Researchers at the Institute of Computing Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have collaborated with Microsoft Research Asia in a study that shows that the Kinect’s body-tracking can be used for sign language recognition.

In a paper titled “”Sign Language Recognition and Translation with Kinect,” the researchers show that the Kinect can help users that primarily use sign language to better interact with computers. Using the Kinect, they can perform their natural gestures and the device will be able to translate those gestures into either text or speech. Because of this, deaf or hard-of-hearing people can communicate with those that don’t understand sign language using the interface. Check out the entire thing in action below:

Hopefully the Kinect’s successor can make even more helpful technologies a reality. And hopefully, it’s not as bad of a video game controller too.

[via Polygon]

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