MCC student develops a glove that can interpret sign language

A physics graduate from Madras Christian College has developed a “talking glove” to help people understand sign language for the hearing and speech impaired.

M. Karthik Jothi, who graduated from college in 2021, has been working on the glove for over a year. The inspiration came from his friend’s family. “I live in Gummidipoondi. During the (COVID) pandemic, I was staying at my boyfriend’s house, otherwise I would have to drive 8 hours a day to college. My friend’s cousin and grandmother are speech and hearing impaired. I couldn’t interact with them and even for simple requests I needed my friend to translate the sign language,” Mr Jothi said.

“My district of Tiruvallur is hurricane prone and I have developed many projects but none of them have been taken up commercially,” said Karthik, who received CAT clearance and gave up a seat at IIM Lucknow to pursue his interests. He has received multiple state and national awards for his inventions.

“I love physics and wanted to do projects,” says the inventor, who is in the third year of his B.Sc. taught physics and mathematics part-time in coaching classes for JEE candidates. His father became a driver after his grocery store closed due to the pandemic.

Just as he and his teammates, including all his classmates, had finished developing the gadget, the MCC held an innovation competition with the faculty of IIT Bombay as the jury. “I won the competition and got £20,000 as a prize which I invested in the project,” recalled Mr Jothi.

While his teammates completed their post-graduate degrees, Mr. Jothi focused on refining the gadget. He benefited from mentoring and networking through the MCC-MRF Innovation Park at the college. His team is among the 12 finalists in the international Tata Social Enterprise Challenge. The results would be announced on July 2nd.

According to Mr. Jothi, the gadget would work for any language. “We all have our own way of using language at home. There is a decoder in the glove that can interpret any language,” he said.

College Principal P. Wilson, praising Mr. Jothi’s perseverance, said: “This is an innovation of social importance and would revolutionize communications. The employability of such a multi-skilled population would be greatly enhanced.”

On Tuesday, Mr Jothi’s start-up Allytriz Technologies won a 10 lakh grant from Nidhi (National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations) Prayas and was incubated at SP-TBI Prayas Shala.

NIDHI-Prayas is an initiative of the National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board and the Department of Science and Technology.

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