California-based company MotionSavvy says that the consumer version of UNI, its revolutionary device that will enable real-time, face-to-face conversations between sign-language users and non-users, will now launch in 2016
UNI consists of a specially developed case coupled with a tablet. It uses embedded cameras and Leap Motion technology to recognise hand signs and translate them into spoken English and Nuance voice recognition software to translate any spoken responses into text.
MotionSavvy says that while the basic UNI dictionary will launch with at least 2,000 signs, users will be able to add their own using its in-built SignBuilder program. They will also be able to share their personalised dictionaries with other members of UNI’s community using CrowdSign.
The launch version of UNI is designed to work exclusively with the Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet running Windows 8.1 OS, however the company hopes to develop Android and iOS versions at a later date.
UNI was developed over a three-year period and was originally scheduled to launch in autumn 2015. However, despite winning several accolades it struggled to raise sufficient funds to develop its software in time.
This changed in autumn 2014 when US bank Wells Fargo picked it along with two other companies for its Startup Accelerator program. With the additional investment of $500,000 it’s now on schedule to launch the consumer version of UNI in summer 2016.