Developer Creates Sign Language For Alexa

Abishek Singh, a software developer based in the United States, has developed a way for deaf people to communicate with Amazon Alexa using sign language. Using a camera, Alexa can interpret gestures into speechUsers can help expand Alexa’s sign language vocabulary by going into the translator on Singh’s website. They simply need to type the word itself then sign it using their camera and say the word out loud. Of his new technology, Singh said the inspiration lied in the question,

“If voice is the future of computing, what about those who cannot hear or speak?”

Using Amazon Echo, Javascript, and TenslorFlow.Js, Singh’s experiment has proved successful in allowing Alexa to communicate with deaf people. TenslorFlow specifically allows for machine-learning, so Alexa can learn sign language over time. Once the system interprets the hand movements, it uses text-to-speech software from Google to have Alexa read the words out loud.

Sign Language Alexa
Sign Language Alexa

Amazon Alexa and Privacy

In the past couple of years, Amazon has encountered many security breaches with their voice assistant Alexa. In the spring of 2018, security researchers found that a flaw that would allow Alexa-enabled electronic hotel keycards to open any room in the building, while it’s also been proven that Alexa has recorded and sent private conversations.  In response, Amazon claimed that this was an “extremely rare occurrence” and that they are working to prevent it from happening again. Most recently, it was revealed that Amazon employees listen to Alexa recordings in order to improve the voice assistant’s artificial intelligence capabilities.

While Singh’s technology has just been released on his personal website, it isn’t clear how quickly it will become mainstream for deaf users, if at all. However, given Amazon’s privacy issues in the past, it is possible that deaf users, as well, could be eavesdropped on, via Singh’s software. In an interview with the BBC, Singh said, “There’s no reason that Amazon Show, or any of the camera and screen based voice assistants, couldn’t build this functionality right in.”

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her career, her work has spanned many intersections within the tech industry. At SquareFoot, a New York-based real estate technology company, she wrote about the ways in which technology has changed the real estate industry, as well as the challenges that business owners face when they want to invest in property. At Degreed.com, an education technology website, Aliza created digital content for lifelong learners, exploring the ways in which technology has democratized education. Additionally, she has written articles for The Huffington Post as well as her own content on Medium, the online publishing platform. Aliza’s love of journalism and research stems from the excellent Journalism program at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, Aliza interned as a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit “news room without walls”. There, Aliza was paired with an investigative journalist and used academic databases to obtain data on everything from the suicide rates in Bhutan to local Boston court cases. Her last position was as an account executive at Yelp, educating business owners on the power of technology to increase revenue. Throughout, however, her heart remained with tech journalism, and she’s thrilled to be writing for Security Baron. When she’s not keeping afloat of the latest tech trends, Aliza likes to cook, read, and write. A former high school “Class Clown,” Aliza has completed two feature-length screenplays, a pilot, and countless comedic sketches. On her days off you can find her relaxing in Prospect Park, trying the latest flavors at Ample Hills Ice Cream, and spending time with friends and family.

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