Student Engineering Team Wins Award for ASL Translator Device

Haihui Zhu, Christopher Paquinelli and Roman Hamilton

A student team in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering recently took the Bronze Award at the InnovateFPGA 2019 Global Contest Regional Final for a program that translates American Sign Language (ASL) to voice using machine learning. 

Led by Haihui Zhu, Christopher Pasquinelli and Roman Hamilton, all undergraduates in computer engineering, the team is developing a sign language reader that uses a camera and artificial intelligence to identify the hand gestures used in ASL and translates them into sentences, which would benefit the hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. who rely on ASL to communicate.

The award includes a certificate, a cash award of $800, and the Max 10 Plus FPGA main board. Team members say they will continue working on the project and are seeking students to join their team.