Ronaldo Tenório, 30, is one of the 35 most innovative people in the world with less than 35 years, a list released every year by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States. Tenório is the only Latin American representative of this edition.
The Brazilian is in the disputed list “35 Innovators Under 35” for creating Hand Talk , an application for phones and tablets that translates the Portuguese to sign language. The application helps hearing impaired or speech impaired people communicate with people who do not know sign language.
In Brazil alone, there are more than 10 million deaf people who can benefit from the application.
In order to establish communication, the app uses an avatar named Hugo to translate speech into sign language. The person speaks the phrase in the app and then Hugo starts to make the signs.
Hugo also translates sign language to text or voice message. “The app gives the hearing impaired the ability to take an interpreter everywhere,” said MIT at the Tenório app presentation. The invention of the Brazilian is in the area of Humanitarian Innovations.
MIT also highlights the difficulty of creating an application like this.
“Translating an audio to animated gestures requires a laborious schedule because everything has to be precisely correct, even Hugo’s facial expressions, which are also part of sign language.” Tenório and his team have used thousands of phrase examples for months, and combined it all in a 3D animation. They constantly improve the translations in the program updates. “
The next step is to make the avatar look more like the user. Tenório wants to make different versions of the avatar, giving the user the possibility to change the race, the gender and other visual characteristics. In Brazil, more than one million people already use Hand Talk.