"Technology must be out of politics": Russian schoolchild received a small Nobel Prize in the United States
A tenth-grader from Yekaterinburg received a small Nobel Prize at the World Fair of Scientific Achievements of Intel ISEF Schoolchildren, which was held on 18 in May in the USA, Phoenix, Arizona. Lyceum student number 12 Daniil Kazantsev was awarded for the development of an automatic sign language interpreter, writes E1.ru.
The sign language interpreter for people with speech disorders is an autonomous device that translates hand gestures into words. In fact, with his help, you can communicate with the deaf-and-dumb without knowing the sign language, that is, he is able to completely replace a professional sign language interpreter.
Work on the device began in the 2017 year. He was invented by two Daniels - Kazantsev and Semenov - after reading the story of the deaf-and-dumb mother Oksana Beloborodova. Husband Oksana left the family, and it turned out that without him a woman can not communicate with their children. They simply did not understand her. Oksana was deprived of parental rights, and the children ended up in an orphanage. The official reason for the decision - the children lived in poor conditions.
“For me, the story of a deaf-and-dumb woman from Alapaevsk became a catalyst, as if something clicked in my head,” says Daniel Kazantsev. - I was amazed that such things in our society are perceived as the norm. They even surprise no one. Then the idea emerged that the process of communication between people with speech disorders and people without health restrictions can be automated.
- During the fair in the USA you showed an improved version of the sign language interpreter. What is new in it?
- In the new version, I applied a different method of tracking the position of the fingers. Previously used cameras that capture the image, but it turned out that it is not very effective. Now the device records the position of the fingers directly. You can show gestures in any position - the way you want, as you like. A special sensor (cuff), which is attached to the arm, reads muscle contraction. All translated words are collected in a meaningful sentence. After that, the device voiced it.
- At the fair, you discussed the project with representatives of NASA. Can this technology be used in space?
“The invention can be used anywhere, because a person is organized in the same way regardless of where he is - in space, on the ground or underground. Vacuum does not conduct sound, so astronauts communicate with each other using gestures. This is a common practice. Now actively developing space tourism. There were non-professional astronauts who may not know sign language. The technology that underlies the invention could help them.
- Have you already received any interesting suggestions that will help to finish the development and launch the device into mass production?
- At the fair, I made many interesting acquaintances with people who want to share their ideas. The fair is primarily needed in order to promote your invention, to find your audience.
- I heard that the project already has an investor. Who will finance it?
- I can not yet disclose this information, but I can say that the invention will continue to develop and that I have the resource to continue to develop.
- Does your sign language interpreter have any competitors?
- There are competitors, but none of them reached the series. Because no one has collaborated with users. Everybody was doing technology for the sake of technology. I want to make technology for the sake of users. Create something solid that could be used by people in everyday life. The advantage of the invention I see is that you can always carry it with you. This is a mobile translator that can be fixed on your hand and move around with it.
- How is the testing of the device?
- Approbation of the apparatus was held in the All-Russian Deaf Society. I have received many positive reviews from them. I tried to take into account all the proposals. The device that we see is a prototype. In the final sample, all wires will be hidden inside. The only difficulty is that users will need to get used to the fact that something is wearing on their hand. But I think it’s no more difficult than making everyone around them learn sign language.
- How much time did it take you to learn sign language?
- I know several foreign languages and I can say that learning sign language is much easier than a new foreign language.
- The device is “speaking” only in English. When will the Russian version appear?
- I presented the invention at the international exhibition, so I used English. But the technology that underlies is universal. It is unpretentious to the language. In order for the device to “speak” in Russian, it is enough to add new words to the database. The translator can "speak" in any language: Russian, French, Italian. There is no difference here.
- Would you like the invention to be used all over the world or should it remain in Russia?
- I do it for everyone, not only for Russians or not only for the English. I want him to have users from all over the world. I do not think that any technology can exist only for Russia, only for the United States or only for Europe. Technology should be for everyone, because they are out of politics.
- Will the patent be international?
- Yes, but the first users who will reveal all the advantages and disadvantages of the automatic sign language interpreter will be from Russia. First, this is my home country. Secondly, it will be easier to establish two-way communication and make the device better.
- Is there a lot of bugs in the sign language interpreter?
- They happen periodically. This is a demo version, and sometimes the words in it are translated incorrectly. But the program is written in such a way that if the word is translated incorrectly, the action can be canceled and tried again.
- How many words are in the database now?
- Near 50. All combinations between them are formed automatically. In the future, 10 has to create a library of thousands of words that completely cover all basic human needs. In the US, I was introduced as the creator of a method that allows people to express thoughts with impaired hearing and speech apparatus. And this is not just a beautiful name. I really want people with different capabilities to communicate with each other using this technology.
- When will the invention appear in stores?
- There is a final stage of testing, I need to conduct large-scale training. Sign language speakers should be involved in this process. I collaborate with deaf people, write down how they communicate using gestures, and use this data to create a library. Once the library is ready, the device can be released to the masses. I think it will take about another year.
- How much, in your opinion, should your automatic sign language interpreter cost?
- Like a quarter of an iPhone.
- Soon you will finish school and will go to university. Do you have time to continue working on the translator?
- I think when I go to university, I will have even more time than now when I go to school.
- Do you already know where you will study?
- My profile is programming and computer science, and I'm definitely not going to change it. Where to go to study, I do not know yet. Now I want to pass the exams, and in July I plan to go to the international Google Science Fair contest in Moscow to present a translator.
- After graduation, do you plan to work in Russia or will you go abroad?
- Let's just say: I am open to any suggestions and ready to work anywhere. The most important thing for me now is that users - one way or another - can get my product. I am ready to go on a dialogue with everyone who will help me to achieve this goal, and it does not matter to me which country and what nationality these people will be from.
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