Innovative Design Team Posters

We-Sign: An Intermediary for Hearing Impaired Based Communication

Group members: Israel Alfred, Liam Briggs, Natalie Connors, Keon Jin, Waleed Sawan, Edward Zurabov

School: Western University

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The hearing impaired face a universal challenge; their lack of auditory clarity imposes

natural limitations on them when in pursuit of education, employment, and general communication. Over 5% of the world's population, 466 million people, have disabling hearing

loss [1]. In the education sector, it is estimated that 80% of the roughly 32 million deaf children

around the world lack access to education altogether [2]. The statistics in the employment sector are also bleak, with fewer than 40% of those with a hearing disability working full time due to the limitations of their impairment [3].

To help facilitate communication and aid the issues many individuals in the hearing-impaired community face, We-Sign creates a seamless interaction between individuals with hearing impairments and those without this impairment. Through the use of image

processing (i.e. hand detection, background subtraction, etc.) and machine learning, We-Sign can recognize 24 of the 26 letters within the American Sign Language (ASL) framework through the onboard camera. Two-way communication is achieved when the user interacts with the device’s camera and the produced letters are fed through a word inference algorithm; sending the translated message to the speaker. The individual without the hearing impairment is then able to speak into the device’s microphone where the screen displays the message to the auditorily disabled individual, thus accomplishing bidirectional communication [4][5][6][7].

To evaluate the fiscal feasibility of this venture, a marketing plan has been developed to

integrate We-Sign into the community. The manufacturing cost of the hardware was calculated to be approximately $75.80. After factoring this in, as well as various expenses such as research, development, and labour, the selling price point was set to be $300 [8]. Given the high cost of current hearing impairment assistive tools, the relatively low price point gives We-Sign a strong value proposition. This marketing plan not only provides the venture with a strong foundation to continue its operations for years to come, but We-Sign’s various applications (such as; schools, stores, and government offices) would also greatly help to diminish the communication gap [9].



[1] "Deafness and hearing loss", , 2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 08-Jan- 2021].

[2] "How Deaf Children Are Being Locked Out of Language", OZY , 2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 08- Jan- 2021].

[3] , 2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 08- Jan- 2021].

[4] B. Garcia and S. A. Viesca, “Real-time American Sign Language Recognition with Convolutional Neural Networks,” Stanford University , 27-Nov-2012. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 08-Jan-2021].

[5] K. Suri and R. Gupta, “Convolutional Neural Network Array for Sign Language Recognition

Using Wearable IMUs,” 2019 6th International Conference on Signal Processing and

Integrated Networks (SPIN) , 2019.

[6] S. Mathur and P. Sharma, “Sign Language Gesture Recognition using Zernike Moments and

DTW,” 2018 5th International Conference on Signal Processing and Integrated Networks

(SPIN) , 2018.

[7] “Sign Language Recognition using Hybrid Neural Networks,” International Journal of

Innovative Technology and Exploring Engineering Regular Issue , vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 1092–1098,


[8] “Find quality Manufacturers, Suppliers, Exporters, Importers, Buyers, Wholesalers, Products

and Trade Leads from our award-winning International Trade Site. Import & Export on,” Alibaba . [Online]. Available: [Accessed:


[9] “Projecting Income Statement Line Items - Step by Step Guide,” Corporate Finance Institute ,

08-Apr-2020. [Online]. Available:

nt-line-items/. [Accessed: 08-Jan-2021].

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