For the millions of deaf people who cannot speak, everyday communication often requires costly human translators and tedious note writing. Enter the Uni, a tablet and attachment that leverages motion-sensing cameras and voice recognition to translate American Sign language into spoken words – and spoken words into text – in real time. “The need for this is so great,” writes Ryan Hait-Campbell, CEO of San Franscisco-based MotionSavvy, who is deaf. Roughly 200 Indiegogo backers agree: the company has raised more than $20,000 to date.
Started in 2012 by four students at Rochester Institute of Technology, MotionSavvy aims to change the way that the approximately 70 million deaf people in the world communicate face-to-face. The Uni has a dictionary of over 2,000 signs and can have a fully customized dictionary based on the user’s preference. For added flexibility, the Uni’s “SignBuilder” feature lets you record, label, and edit custom signs, which can then be uploaded and shared with others through its “CrowdSign” feature. While MotionSavvy has undergone a shift in focus to businesses who can more readily afford the product, it can still be pre-ordered by individuals for shipment after the initial pilot programs are over. The product is currently in the middle of a pilot program at the Greater Rochester International Airport in Rochester, New York. If the airport’s experience is any metric, this product will be a go-to product for the deaf community in the years to come.