Indian Student Develops an AI Model to Translate Sign Language into English in Real-Time

Indian Student Builds an AI Model to Translate Sign Language into English in Real-Time

Indian Student Develops an AI Model to Translate Sign Language into English in Real-Time

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been used to develop various kinds of translation models to improve communication amongst users and break language barriers across regions. Companies like Google and Facebook use AI to develop advanced translation models for their services. Now, a third-year engineering student from India has created an AI model that can detect American Sign Language (ASL) and translate them into English in real-time.

Indian Student Develops AI-based ASL Detector

Priyanjali Gupta, a student at the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), shared a video on her LinkedIn profile, showcasing a demo of the AI-based ASL Detector in action. Although the AI model can detect and translate sign languages into English in real-time, it supports only a few words and phrases at the moment. These include Hello, Please, Thanks, I Love You, Yes, and No.

Gupta created the model by leveraging Tensorflow object detection API and using transfer learning through a pre-trained model called ssd_mobilenet. That means she was able to repurpose existing codes to fit her ASL Detector model. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that the AI model does not actually translate ASL to English. Instead, it identifies an object, in this case, the signs, and then determines how similar it is based on pre-programmed objects in its database.

In an interview with Interesting Engineering, Gupta noted that her biggest inspiration for creating such an AI model is her mother nagging her “to do something” after joining her engineering course in VIT. “She taunted me. But it made me contemplate what I could do with my knowledge and skillset. One fine day, amid conversations with Alexa, the idea of inclusive technology struck me. That triggered a set of plans,” she told the publication.

Gupta also credited YouTuber and data scientist Nicholas Renotte’s video from 2020, which details the development of an AI-based ASL Detector, in her statement.

Although Gupta’s post on LinkedIn garnered numerous positive responses and appreciation from the community, an AI-vision engineer pointed out that the transfer learning method used in her model is “trained by other experts” and it is the “easiest thing to do in AI.” Gupta acknowledged the statement and wrote that building “a deep learning model solely for sign detection is a really hard problem but not impossible.”

“Currently I’m just an amateur student but I am learning and I believe sooner or later our open-source community, which is much more experienced and learned than me, will find a solution and maybe we can have deep learning models solely for sign languages,” she further added.

You can check out Priyanjali’s GitHub page to know more about the AI model and access the relevant resources of the project. Also, let us know your thoughts about Gupta’s ASL Detector in the comments below.


  1. Her work is commendable no doubt, but understand this an API she worked on which was already built. It shouldn’t be a great news. There are lot of people who deserve attention. She is respected futher if she uses appreciation from the real people who have worked on the project. I don’t know, this my view; there are lot of good people needing more attention.

  2. Gender Inequality. There are boys in my college who had made same thing before yet they aren’t recognized.

  3. Please stop posting about something like this. If you open linked in and scroll through enough posts you will find same videos such as this from multiple people. This code is freely available on GitHub and only thing one has to do is setup the environment and run the code. If you want to praise then find out who is the original developer of this.

  4. So using an existing API, counts as “building”? which warrants an interview and an article?
    Please get real, and get serious about programming.
    Don’t spread misinformation about programming.

    I hate that there are so many young programmers wo work tirelessly on astonishing projects, and don’t get to see the light of the day, but others just pull a “I’m a girl btw” and everyone goes crazy.

  5. She used a pre trained model, all she did was use that model properly which could have been just copy pasted but still. It should be praise worthy if she has made a working model instead of using someone else work. 😅

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