Ryan Patterson A Deaf Teen At Burger King Trying To Order

January 24, 2012 by staff 

Ryan Patterson A Deaf Teen At Burger King Trying To Order, When Ryan Patterson was about 2 years old, he sat on Santa’s lap and asked for an 8-foot extension cord. Now a teenager, Patterson is winning top honors for his electronic inventions, as well as more than $300,000 in scholarships. You could say some people are just wired for success.

His latest project gives the phrase “talk to the hand” a whole new meaning. He invented a digital glove that translates sign language into text, allowing those who sign to converse with those who do not.

“I thought that people who need interpreters couldn’t be very independent, so I thought an electronic translator would give them more freedom,” says Patterson, who got the idea when he saw a deaf teen trying to order a meal at Burger King. Patterson decided to find a solution and entered the final product in the Siemens Westinghouse Science & Technology Competition. He won the top prize, a $100,000 scholarship.

To make his invention, Patterson equipped a golf glove with a tiny circuit board and 10 sensors. The digital signals from the sensors are processed by a microprocessor and transmitted wirelessly to the receiver. The hand-held receiver, about the size of a cell phone, converts them to text on the display screen. It took the young inventor about eight months to make a working prototype. He is already working on a second version that will incorporate voice so it will “speak” when printing.

The glove, called the Sign Language Translator, has a provisional patent that is expected to be upgraded to a full patent this year. The senior at Central High School in Grand Junction, Colo., hopes to launch a small company to manufacture the glove, which also netted him $216,000 in cash and scholarship money at last year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

But the 17-year-old, who plans to attend the University of Colorado-Boulder next year, is taking the attention in stride as he fits in interviews while at his programming job or dashing to an appointment. “Most of my time is taken up with schoolwork, my projects and work,” he says. “I have almost no free time. I can barely keep up with my E-mail.”

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