Africans have always been great inventors and 25-year-old Kenyan innovator, Roy Allela is the latest proof of this after inventing smart hand gloves that translate sign language into audio speech.

Inspired by the need to communicate with his 6-year-old niece who was born deaf and encountered difficulties while communicating with family members who weren’t conversant with sign language, he created the Sign-IO gloves. Allela’s gloves utilize flex sensors that are placed on each finger, these sensors quantify the bend of the finger and process the letter being shaped. Using Bluetooth technology, the gloves connect to a mobile application which then converts the sign into audio speech, also developed by Roy Allela.

Speaking on his invention Roy Allela said “My niece wears the gloves, pairs them to her phone or mine, then starts signing and I’m able to understand what she’s saying,”

For his invention, tech expert Roy Allela is among the 16 brilliant young Africans who have been shortlisted by the Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize, where the winners receive funding, training and mentoring for projects that are intended to revolutionise sectors.