Ukraine for the win

Marc Sanchez Jul 10, 2012

What did you do this morning? Eat some Grape-Nuts? Grind some coffee? Maybe you almost fell asleep taking the bus to work. If so, you definitely weren’t in Australia, taking part in the 10th annual Imagine Cup. This year’s top prize ($25,000 ) went to a team from the Ukraine for inventing gloves that can translate sign language to speech. Throw that in your Grape-Nuts and chew on it.

Tech Crunch describes the winning entry:

Using gloves fitted with flex sensors, touch sensors, gyroscopes and accelerometers (as well as some solar cells to increase battery life) theEnableTalk team has built a system that can translate sign language into text and then into spoken words using a text-to-speech engine. The whole system then connects to a smartphone over Bluetooth.

A team from Japan came in second place for coming up with smarter lamps that use less energy by detecting when their lights can be dimmed. Third place went to a Portuguese team for its Kinect-enabled shopping cart that follows a user through a store.

Microsoft sponsors the annual event, and during the awards announcements, told all the finalists that they would each be receiving a Windows 8 machine as soon as they are made available (probably sometime in October).


We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.