The AcceleGlove is a wearable computer with super-small electronic circuitry. Sensors in the glove work with a micro-controller attached to the wearer's arm, mapping the placement and movement of the arm and fingers. That information is turned into data a computer can read and convert to words heard from a loudspeaker or read on a computer screen. [...]
The single glove can make the signs that correspond to all 26 letters of the alphabet, so any word can be spelled out. But this is a slow process. American Sign Language also includes hundreds of gestures that express single words and simple sentences, but most require two hands. So far the single glove can produce fewer than 200 words that can be signed with the one hand, and a few expressions such as "What's the matter?" and "I'll help you." [...]
Some further testing is needed, Hernandez-Rebollar said. He believes the right hand glove could be manufactured and on the market next year, while a two-handed version with much greater possibilities could be ready in 2005.
And of course no article about the deaf would be complete without letting the crackpots sound off:
But the idea of turning sign language into speech annoys some deaf people who see ASL -- used in the United States and English-speaking Canada -- as part of their unique culture.
"Some feel that being deaf is not a deficiency," said Andy Lange, president of the National Association of the Deaf. "It's simply another way of life and the deaf should not use artificial means to overcome a loss of hearing."