Computer engineering senior developing translation technology for sign language

Ryan McGill, a senior in computer engineering, recently completed an internship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory. 

While working at the lab this summer, McGill and his team won the lab’s Intern Innovative Idea Challenge for their work in developing a system to allow smoother communication between American Sign Language (ASL) and English speakers. 

“Our project that we designed is a modular system that can fit into either your phone, a Google Glass-type device or through your computer via Skype,” McGill said. “Its function would be to allow two-way conversations in the language the users prefer, so in this case ASL and English.”

MIT is sponsoring McGill’s continued work on the ENVOY, or Enabling Natural-language Versatility and Opportunity, project throughout the academic year. He said his team will work on developing a prototype and hope to show a proof-of-concept by spring 2020.