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News - Date: 16 September 2019
Written by: Mbulaheni Ridovhona / Viewed: 2443
An inventor from Tsianda Ha-Mutsha is hoping to raise R15 million to help his company to further develop a glove that will make it possible to communicate better with deaf people.
Lucky Netshidzati (26) demonstrated his invention at expos earlier this year and his wearable glove concept captured the imagination. The glove makes use of sensors that can translate sign language into text and voice.
Netshidzati explained that the gloves were designed using virtual-reality gesture controls to assist deaf people and can be used to carry out everyday activities that would otherwise be difficult for those with hearing impediments. “The glove converts sign language into voice and texts for the people who can't understand sign language, so that they can have a proper conversation. The gloves’ sensors work with a mobile app,” he said.
For Netshidzati, the invention is also a personal triumph. He grew up in a family where both his parents were deaf. “Being born and raised by deaf parents was hard because I couldn't communicate with them. I had to come up with a solution on how to communicate with them,” he said.
He explained that growing up in a deaf community was not easy. “My mom doesn't even have a bank account because she struggles to communicate with the people at the bank. Sometimes deaf people get wrong medication at hospitals because of poor communication.”
The idea to design a glove that can “speak” to others has been with him since 2015. In 2018, he met an IT engineer, Tebogo Mthombeni, and the concept started taking shape. Mthombeni is the owner of a company called BIFI Technologies. The prototype that the two inventors built made use of a variety of sensors to detect finger movements.
Netshidzati established his own company, Rudzambilu Holdings, with the aim of developing telecom systems that cater for persons with disabilities. He also wants to bridge the communication barrier between hearing people and people with hearing impairments.
He can be reached on 066 020 1590/076 844 0320 or write to Lucky@rudzambilu.co.za.
The gloves invented by Lucky Netshidzati to help deaf people to communicate. Photo supplied.
The 22-year-old Mbulaheni (Gary) Ridovhona has been passionate about journalism to the extent that he would buy himself a copy of weekly Univen students' newsletter, Our Voice. After reading, he would write stories about his rural village, Mamvuka, and submit them to the very newsletter for publication. His deep-rooted love for words and writing saw him register for a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies at the University of Venda, and joined the Limpopo Mirror team in February 2016 as a journalism intern.