Innovative 3D Printed Robotic Arm Can Translate Speech Into Sign Language. Called Project ASLAN

robotic arm that can translate speech into sign language feat (1)

Humans are great! Especially engineers who solve problems for people with disabilities like these master students from The University of Antwerp. Recently, they’ve introduced a robot capable of translating human speech into sign language.

This project was sponsored by the European Institute for Otorhinolaryngology and it should help in solving a problem of shortage of sign language interpreters all over the world. It is called the Project ASLAN (Antwerp’s Sign Language Actuating Node), and it consists of a 3D-printed robotic arm which translates human speech into sign language including finger spelling and counting.

“I was talking to friends about the shortage of sign language interpreters in Belgium, especially in Flanders for the Flemish sign language. We wanted to do something about it. I also wanted to work on robotics for my masters, so we combined the two,” says Stijn Huys, one of the students at the University of Antwerp.

The significance of this project is not only that the robot does a great job, but also the fact it is affordable and easily manufacturable. The robot features 25 3D-printed parts, taking a total of 139 hours to print. It consists of 5 parts, 16 servo motors, 3 motors controllers, and arduino due.

This doesn’t mean ASLAN will replace human interpreters. The goal of the project is to give support to people in need when human interpreters are not available.

Robotics teacher Erwin Smet from the University of Antwerp explains, “A deaf person who needs to appear in court, a deaf person following a lesson in a classroom somewhere, these are all circumstances where a deaf person needs a sign language interpreter, but where often such an interpreter is not readily available. This is where a low-cost option, like ASLAN can offer a solution.

Watch the video about Project ASLAN /Antwerp’s Sign Language Actuating Node/

The 3D-printed robotic arm which translates human speech into sign language including finger spelling and counting.

robotic arm that can translate speech into sign language 2 (1)

It is affordable and easily manufacturable.

robotic arm that can translate speech into sign language 3 (1)

“I was talking to friends about the shortage of sign language interpreters in Belgium, especially in Flanders for the Flemish sign language. We wanted to do something about it. “

robotic arm that can translate speech into sign language 4 (1)

“A deaf person who needs to appear in court, a deaf person following a lesson in a classroom somewhere…”

robotic arm that can translate speech into sign language 5 (1)

“…These are all circumstances where a deaf person needs a sign language interpreter, but where often such an interpreter is not readily available.”

robotic arm that can translate speech into sign language 6 (1)

“This is where a low-cost option, like ASLAN can offer a solution.

robotic arm that can translate speech into sign language 7 (1)


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