2010 finalists > 17+ years > Sign-a-Tutor
Vishnu Priya Mallela
Mt Roskill Grammar, Auckland
Type a letter onto a keyboard and the hand-symbol in sign language for that letter appears on the graphics LCD screen, even showing movement where the sign for a letter requires it. Despite there being various resources available for deaf and mute people, there is no portable solution that aids in teaching and learning New Zealand sign language.
Learning sign-language can be a costly business with tutors and internet based programmes and so I was inspired to make a portable product that aids learning without having to spend thousands of dollars. Sign language dictionaries also pose problems as the images are static. This is difficult for non-hearing people who can’t mentally visualise things unless they are shown them.
The project also has lots of potential for further development. One idea is a touch screen LCD instead of a normal one.
The most rewarding part of this project was being able to see each bit fit into the full picture of the project. The hardest part was interfacing the keyboard into the LCD and programming it so it was clear for the user. I also had to take care that every sign was accurate according to the pixels that are required for the display and ensure that animations were going either fast or slow enough for the user to notice.