A lightweight wearable American Sign Language translation device is presented consisting of optically communicating rings worn on each finger and wireless devices worn on each fingernail. The device is similar in principle to glove based sign language translation devices except it does not require the user to wear an entire glove. Each ring is constructed from optically clear resin containing three infrared transponders, controlled by a microcontroller unit worn on the wrist. The fingernail units are also cast in clear resin and contain circuitry to receive and respond to infrared light, and house three small SR60 watch batteries. The system uses a microcontroller to flash all LEDs in succession and create matrix sensor readings from each LED, resulting in a 15x15 matrix corresponding to a signed gesture, recognized by an Artificial Neural Network. This system is expected to be able to recognize 24 of the 26 letters of the ASL alphabet and be extended to recognize arbitrary ASL signs with the integration of an accelerometer. The system currently recognizes 9 letters (A, B, D, F, K, N, O, T, X) with intention to build on this novel method of gesture recognition to construct a full-fledged ASL translator. The system is currently useable as a low-encumbrance gesture-based input system for arbitrary device control.

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