Kenyan Youth Honored For Developing Smart Gloves

  • Roy Alela, the inventor of the smart gloves technology that translate sign language into speech with a 93% accuracy.
    Roy Alela, the inventor of the smart gloves technology that translate sign language into speech with a 93% accuracy.
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  • President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday, October 20, commended the efforts of Roy Alela, an engineering student who devised a smart glove technology that is capable of converting sign language movements into audio speech.

    During the 57th Mashujaa day celebrations at the Gusii Stadium in Kisii. President Uhuru, who was the chief guest at the event, lauded the 25-year-old for his unique invention that has placed him among the new generation of unsung heroes.

    The inspiration came from the need to communicate with his 6-year-old niece, who was born deaf. According to Allela, his niece struggled with communication as other members of the family were not conversant with the sign language.

    Roy Allela, displays the smart hand gloves which he invented.
    Roy Allela, displays the smart hand gloves which he invented.
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    The smart gloves consist of flex sensors that are fitted on each finger and have the capacity to quantify the bend of a finger and process the letter being signed.

    Using Bluetooth technology, the gloves are connected to an application which then converts the sign into audio speech.

    “My niece wears the gloves, pairs them to her phone or mine, then starts signing and I’m able to understand what she’s saying,” says Allela.

    The innovative student points out that speed and accuracy are the major aspects of the smart gloves. Through the app, users can control a variety of options such as language, pitch of the audio, with the accuracy results amounting to 93 percent.

    Alela, who recently won an award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), stated that the technology can be customized into various themes which suit the user.

    Two students from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), alias "the Knights", were also recognized in the Head of State's speech.

    The two innovators earned recognition for inventing a high-tech automated weeding robot.

    The robot uses Artificial Intelligence (A.I) to navigate through the farm, in-between rows of crops together with a rotary encoder.

    The President also extolled a group of youths in Manyani, Taita Taveta County, for  their technology projects based on the security sector.

    For instance the group undertook a Ksh4 billion project that undertook mapping of Kenya’s  national resources under the National Airborne Geophysical Survey Project. The project, he said, would cut cost by more than half compared to the Ksh30 billion that a private firm had imposed for the same project.

    "The Knights" from JKUAT university pose with their invention- an A.I guided bot that uses technology in eliminating weeds on a farm.
    "The Knights" from JKUAT university pose with their invention- an A.I guided bot that uses technology in eliminating weeds on a farm.
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