(KPBS) UC San Diego researchers have designed a “smart glove” that can turn sign language into text that can be wirelessly transmitted to mobile devices, all for less than $100.

The glove is outfitted with sensors that stretch over the user’s knuckles, detecting the different gestures that represent letters of the American Sign Language alphabet. A small computer on the back of the glove is then able to take that information and transmit it via Bluetooth to a smartphone or laptop, where it is displayed as text.

“We actually used just a sporting glove, like a golf glove,” said UC San Diego nano-engineering PhD student Timothy O’Connor, the first author on a new paper published Wednesday describing the glove.

O’Connor said using cheap materials was important for demonstrating the real-world usefulness of this technology. For the stretch sensors, O’Connor said, “The material we’re using is printable, which makes it even more low-cost.”

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