Plainsboro student creates device for sign language translation
A Plainsboro student is developing a way for those who are deaf or who have hearing loss to seamlessly communicate with the rest of the world.
Faraz Tamboli is a 12-year-old seventh grader at Community Middle School in Plainsboro. He calls himself a "fixer." Tamboli is the programmer, coder and inventor of TalkMotion, a technology to help those who are hard of hearing.
The technology takes sign language and turns it into spoken word. It also takes spoken word -- and turns it into sign language.
A gesture detector reads hand movements and processes them through TalkMotion into word, helping people to communicate.
"My goal is to make sure that they can contribute to the world and share their ideas too, so they have a way to communicate with us," said Tamboli.
He is one of 10 students across the country representing the Garden State selected to compete in the National 3M Young Scientist Challenge in Minneapolis next month.
Tamboli's father, Farukh Tamboli, taught him a lot of the programming behind Talk Motion. He says it's more than just a competition.
Tamboli had his first chance to test the prototype with Paul, who is not fluent in sign, and his daughter Angelu at the Katzenbach School for the Deaf.
TalkMotion currently is competition ready, translating 12 words -- but Tamboli plans to continue building its vocabulary in the future.
The grand prize for the 3M Young Scientist Challenge is $25,000. If he wins, Tamboli plans to use the money to continue developing his invention and also implement it in schools serving students who could use it to improve communication.