These college students built an app that can ‘read’ American Sign Language

Summarized by Jeni Ten Eyck, staff writer

At Dragon Hacks 2016, hosted by Drexel University, six college students used existing hardware to build an app that transmitted signed ASL to English text message.

Dragon Hacks is one of many hackathons in the world that aims to create new technology from existing hardware. Six strangers from the University of Maryland, University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, and Drexel were given exactly 24 hours to come up with a “hack.” After exploring the hardware they had, the team decided to scrap their original plan and use the hardware for real time American Sign Language translation.

With some ASL knowledge, the team went to work and created Sign Me. During the demonstration, the use of fingerspelling by participants made the team nervous because they had not had time to develop the app that far. However, the judges saw the potential of the hack and awarded the team first place in the overall competition.

The six former strangers are not stopping there. They hope to move forward in the app’s development and help users of ASL around the country.

You can read the full story here.

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