Kinect being used to translate sign language

1 min read


Microsoft isn’t planning on using Kinect simply for gaming – with the motion recognition device having a multitude of real world possibilities; One of which is possibly the ability to translate sign language. It could, obviously, be incredibly useful for hearing impaired people, a well as those who’re able to hear but don’t understand signing. 

The Microsoft Research team in China has come up with a prototype that appears to work exceptionally well, except for the slow Bing integration. So far it can read American and Chinese sign language but I couldn’t imagine it would take that much more effort to add South African sign language into it as well. the bigger problem is that there are so many different standards of sign language, that it becomes more of a data problem than a technological one. 

Obviously this is still a prototype so it’s not perfect yet but the fact that it can do this does show how much better the Kinect 2 is than its predecessor.

Last Updated: July 17, 2013

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

  • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

    Can it translate this?

    • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

      Ok, jokes aside, I think this is a very cool feature, if correctly implemented

      • OVG

        So I can give the Kinect 2 the middle finger when walking past THE DEMO VERSION in the shops. NO CHANCE IN HELL am I allowing that shit in my home.

        180 you do not need to do 24hour check. You can turn it on without the internet DRM but you cant play our game BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


        THAT fine print on the back of the box better be in bold or 90% of the casual purchases are going straight back to the retailer for their money back.

        • TiMsTeR1033

          gonna be alot of sad souls in south africa with xbox one. people not having 2mb line to use cloud or it kills there cap in 10 minutes. and as you said forza 5’s will be bought and returned same day.

          • Concerned

            Surely that argument would nullify PSN+ and Gaikai too? The humanity!!!!!

          • Argentil

            People know what they’re getting into with those services. You subscribe to PS+ currently, to enjoy the free games, and store discounts on offer, as well as cloud saves. These are all online services. PS+ is an online service. You know you’re going to be downloading big games. If you don’t have the cap, you won’t subscribe. As for Gaikai, what? I don’t even know how either of these examples compare to a retail bought game being incomplete without a compulsory download.

  • Trevor Davies

    That’s pretty impressive.

  • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

    The Guys at my campus did something similar to this, but not on such a huge scale though. this is really a wonderful use of the Kinect.

  • hayted

    I have to say this is impressive – I might not want the Kinect to game with but I am all for things like to this to help and better humankind. If this can help people communicate who struggled before or to get on an equal footing – I am all for it.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    I’ll admit that’s pretty impressive, but didn’t I already see something like this on a TED talk (a while back)? There the speaker actually used a normal webcam with software that he wrote. I hope MS didn’t pilfer that guy’s research (dipping their claws into the open source pool, and then repackaging it), like they did with that poor British guy.

    • Argentil

      Interesting. Props to that poor soul. Hopefully he can still get something for his work. Having it work on any system with a normal webcam is much more appealing. Buying an Kinect/Xbox One, just for sign language, seems awfully expensive.

  • RinceWind

    Finally, a good sell. Now MS, PUBLICISES this, for the love or tea on a cold morning, get this positive spin out there for gods sake! Also, I always thought there was one universal sign language, learnt something, FROM A GAMING SITE? WTF?!

    • yeah my daughter did sign language last year and it was then I found out that there isn’t a universal one… so so stupid

      • TiMsTeR1033

        so chinese deaf ppl and sa deaf ppl cant communicate?

        • yup.. each country has their own version so learning our local one could get you insulting their mothers in China… so stupid

          • Argentil

            I’m sure it must have something to do with the linguistics and structure of the mother language of a region. I would have imagined that key words would be the same worldwide, but certain signs would be different, and grammar and sentence structure would be very different. Like a dialect.

      • RinceWind

        That is very odd. I was so sure there was. I understand having languages which have evolved differently, but sign language (for the hearing impaired) has not been around very long, surely standardizing it wouldn’t be impossible?

  • Theo Steenekamp
  • Martin du preez

    Cool feature! How otherwise would The Illuminati know what deaf people are talking about in their homes if they can’t hear them? Must say the NSA are thorough! #PRISM

    • OVG

      Project Prism do not discriminate. nice :p

  • Ultimo_Cleric N7

    Thats actually pretty awesome

  • Argentil

    How do you say “I’m sending a bomb to the whitehouse in the next 24 hours.” in sign language?

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