New technology translates sign language into text
Scientists in Scotland, UK, are in the midst of creating a new type of technology which will translate sign language into text.
The Portable Sign Language Translator (PSLT) is the first device of its kind in the world and uses the camera on smartphones and tablets to translate hand movements.
The group, from the University of Aberdeen, are hoping it will revolutionise the way deaf people communicate, particularly with those who do not understand sign language.
Although the technology will benefit all those that are deaf or hard of hearing, it is mainly hoped it will improve the employment opportunities for the younger generation of deaf people.
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The PSLT translator works with a range of different sign languages, including British Sign Language (BSL) and Makaton.
People will be able to record what they are signing using a camera on a smartphone, tablet, netbook or laptop.
The PSLT software will then translate the signs into text which will display on the screen.
It was developed by a company called Technabling – a spinoff from the University of Aberdeen.
Commenting on the revolutionary device, the founder of Technabling, Dr Ernesto Compatangelo, said: “The user signs into a standard camera integrated into a laptop, netbook, smartphone or other portable device such as a tablet.
“Their signs are immediately translated into text which can be read by the person they are conversing with.
“The intent is to develop an application – an 'app' in smartphone terms – that is easily accessible and could be used on different devices.”
Compatangelo added: “One of the most innovative and exciting aspects of the technology is that it allows sign language users to actually develop their own signs for concepts and terms they need to have in their vocabulary, but they may not have been able to express easily when using BSL.
“The technology has the potential to transform the lives of all sign language users.”
According to the scientists, a PSLT product could be available in the latter half of 2013.
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Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”