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Intel STS Winner-High School Senior Invents Sign Language Translator

WASHINGTON D.C. Ryan Randall Patterson, a high school senior from Grand Junction, Colorado, won first place in the 2002 Intel Science Talent Search competition for his invention of an American Sign Language translator.

For his first place award, Patterson was presented with a $100,000 scholarship by Intel CEO, Craig Barrett. The scene was witnessed by the more than 750 attendees at the Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) Awards Gala on the evening of March 11, 2002 in Washington D.C. This gala is the annual finale of a week-long competition for 40 high school seniors selected as finalists for what is regarded as the most prestigious science competition in the United States for the nation's brightest young scientists.

"We honor these innovators who defy the national trend by excelling in science and math," said Intel CEO Craig Barrett. "As these students complete their education and move into the workforce, they will play a significant role in curing diseases, protecting the environment and developing breakthrough computer technologies."

When asked about his Intel STS experience, Patterson said, "It's the best week imaginable, spending time with the 39 other finalists who have outstanding science projects. It's just so much fun."

Patterson won the first place award for his project entitled "The American Sign Language Translator"a glove that converts American Sign Language to written text on a laptop or portable display. Patterson got the idea for the translator after seeing a girl use sign language to order a meal at a local fast food restaurant. His device allows non-speaking individuals to communicate directly with people who do not know sign language.

The device is based on a simple golf glove outfitted with microprocessor circuitry that detects movement of the 10 sensors located on the fingers and wrist of the glove. The sign is translated and sent to a receiver that displays the information in text form. During the initial design of the project, Patterson used a laptop computer to provide the text translation, but over time he devised a small LED display that can be easily carried in a pocket, purse or backpack.

Patterson's project is the latest invention in his lifelong interest in scientific research, especially in electricity and electronics. According to Patterson, who is also a mountain biker and a water sport enthusiast, "Science is fascinating, it's exciting and it's a lot of fun." He encourages students to participate in science competitions. "I'd encourage trying it no matter what. You don't have anything to lose and it can definitely be worth it."

Related Links
Intel Science Talent Search-Winners Including the 2002 Top 10 Winners
Intel Science Talent Search


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