SignGlasses: Transforming Language Accessibility for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

signglasses asl interpretation
October 17, 2023

This week, Shari Eberts sits down with Paul Travers, the CEO of Vuzix, and Monique Clark, the COO of SignGlasses. The discussion revolves around the fascinating technology in SignGlasses, which seeks to provide accessibility for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

SignGlasses are a wearable computing device that appears as ordinary glasses, but is designed to seamlessly bring language accessibility to individuals in various settings. Monique Clark highlights the inspirational stories and emotional reactions of users who have experienced the technology themselves and, emphasizing how it has the potential to transform people’s lives. Paul Travers elaborates on the technology behind these innovative glasses, which can offer a wide range of applications even beyond sign language interpretation and captions.

You can read more about SignGlasses here,

Full Episode Transcript

to this Week in Hearing.

I’m Shari Eberts,

co author of Hear and Beyond

Live Skillfully with

Hearing Loss,

and I’ll be your host for

this episode. Today,

we’re talking with two

individuals who are looking

to reshape the world of

accessibility technologies for

people who are Deaf and hard

of hearing. Paul Travers,

the CEO of Vuzix.

And Monique Clark,

the COO of SignGlasses.

Thank you both for being here to

talk about your mission and to

share more details about

this new technology.

Thanks for having us, Shari.

It’s a pleasure to be here.

Absolutely. Thank you. So,

as a person with hearing loss,

I sometimes fantasize about

having captions appear on the

foreheads of every person

that I meet.

And I know SignGlasses is not

going to do exactly that.

It does seem like the product

is trying to replicate that

experience a little bit.

So can you please talk about the

impetus behind the product?

Monique, you want to go first?

Okay, sure. Well,

the reason why we started in

SignGlasses is because there was

the need for accessibility.

We tell a story about a student

in BYU University and

experiencing the planetarium

with a sign language


a live sign language interpreter

on the stage.

But you can imagine, like,

looking up at the planetarium

and then looking at the sign

language interpreter,

looking up,

being lost and all that.

It wasn’t the best experience.

Right. So after that experience,

sunglasses went and just

interviewed a bunch of students

and made sure that we got the

gist of what’s needed for

this accessibility,

and then SignGlasses was born.

We don’t only provide the

accessibility through

the Glasses.

We also have other softwares

that can enhance students

learning or people in workplace

and things like that through

our proprietary

platform that we offer

the services through.

But I get really excited about

what SignGlasses offer,

so I’ll stop here and let Paul

speak all about this amazing

technology. Yeah.

So the piece that we bring to

the table is a wearable

computing device that looks like

a regular pair of glasses.

And in fact,

we have more newer ones even

coming that I’m sure that

SignGlasses will support.

One of them is the

pair over here,

and you can see that foggy

looking guy in the background.

They look strikingly like a

regular pair of glasses.

And in fact, our newest pair,

we call them the Ultralights,

and they look I mean,

you can’t distinguish them from

conventional pair of sunglasses.

And what’s nice about that.

Is you can wear technology that

doesn’t make you look like you

don’t fit and just step out the

Starship Enterprise

kind of a thing.

Odd and weird and everybody I

don’t care whether you’re

a crazy person or whatever,

people care about what

they look like.

And so if you have these

OD looking glasses,

like hollow lens or Magic Leap

or these big bulky things,

people just won’t use them.

So these glasses,

when you put them on,

there’s a computer in the temple

and they can be connected

to a network connection.

And when you look into

the glasses,

just like the fighter pilot

cockpit heads up display,

but in this case,

it’s in the glasses.

And so out in front of you is an

image of whatever

you want to put.

And in the cases of sign

glasses, they have a language,

ASL sign language person,

that can be connected

through the system,

so they don’t have to now be

in the classroom per se.

You can have a camera and you

can have a microphone in the

classroom listening

to the teacher.

And then the SignGlasses expert

can be zooming into the

student’s view almost anywhere,

as if they were both sitting

there in the classroom

to do this.

So it enables sign language in a

very portable, personal way,

and it makes it easier and more

accessible for folks.

I’m going to just say this mini

because I thought

it was so cool.

I saw the video down at what’s

the name of the theme park?

Down. Yeah. Yeah.

Universal Studios.

And there’s this little girl

that’s got the glasses on and it

just like is blowing her away

and she’s putting her hands up

and I guess through the ride she

had a personal interpreter

with her. Right?

Isn’t that the concept of how

that works? Yes, that is.

And so you got that is for

Universal Studios.

We’re in both Universal Studios

here in the US.

And that one is a

post production,

so we can do live and post

production, right?

And that story,

that experience is so near and

dear to my heart because I’m

CODA, a child of deaf adult,

so everyone in my family is

Deaf or hard of hearing.

And so if we had these glasses,


when I was growing up or when

my parents were younger,

they would have more


I can’t tell you how these

glasses, this technology,

the accessibility that we’re

providing right now

in partnership,

is changing people’s lives.

Changing people’s lives.

So many times people I might be

getting ahead of myself because

I’m super excited about this,


People put on these glasses and

oh, the reactions, like,

I need this right

now everywhere,

or if I had this before,

or the tears that they show just

being able to have this access.

So you’re right, Paul,

we can have sign language and.

Interpreter anywhere around

world to provide this

remotely live,

or we can do this

post production,

like at the theme park.

Not only sign language,

we can do Captioning as well.

That’s terrific.

I imagine it’s very emotional

for people when they’re able to

finally enjoy an experience

in the best possible way,

whether it’s through the sign

language or the caption thing.

You know how you first started

this conversation, Shari,

was I can imagine someday

written on people’s foreheads.

Captioning version of this does

exactly that effectively,

only it’s next to the person

or on top of their head,

upon where you’re looking,

but the person’s speaking and

you’re seeing in text. Right,


Exactly what they’re saying.

That’s right.

And for the little girl

at Universal Studios,

just thinking about this,

she’s what,

four or five years old.

She was able to and she doesn’t

read right. She’s so small.


Put on these glasses and

instantly have the language

access. Right.

In her native language,

in sign language,

you could see her signing back

to her mom about how kind of

exciting it was that she

was getting to do this.

It was awesome to see that’s

terrific. Well,

we’ll have to link to that video

so our viewers can take a look

at that. It sounds terrific.

So who is the customer

for this product?

Is it the person who’s Deaf

or hard of hearing?

Would they purchase it,

or is it the venue?

How does this product get

to the end user? Yes.

So we love to partner with if

we’re doing a university or

in the workplace or any

organization or planetarium


we like to partner with those

who the business owners or the

accessibility directors,

those so that they can sponsor

the Deaf or hard of hearing or

person with hearing loss,

so that they wouldn’t be

responsible for providing

their own accessibility.

We like to partner with those

who are decision makers so that

we can go in. And again,

we don’t only offer the glasses,

we carry that along with other

services, like a platform,

so that they can receive

the services.

Kind of like zoom or even

lecture capture notes,

things like that,

so that the student can be

enhanced with their

learning process.

And is it all in real time,

or is there an AI

component to it?

I know captioning can be

through CART or through AI.

I’m not sure if there’s AI sign

language interpreters yet,

but it’s probably coming. Yes,

it is coming. Not yet.

We’re not there yet. For us,

I know there’s a lot of AI for

speech recognition out

there and things like that.

And for us, right now,

we like to focus on live

captioning services.

That’s just because we want to

make sure 100% accuracy.

There’s lots of.


There’s lots of different things

that can come in and interrupt

100% accuracy there.

And for today,

we just want to make sure that

the person is receiving that

message 100%. There’s accents,

there’s all these different

things that can come in and

interrupt that process.

In the SignGlasses case,

they offer so much more than

just the basic we’re pretty sure

this is what they that kind of a

thing, right? And with that,

extra services bring a lot of

value on top of what just a

basic pair of glasses that maybe

had an AI engine running

that was doing this.

I will say that in the

broader market sense,

for people that have hearing

aids and they’re just not

working for them anymore and

there’s going to come a day very

soon where the glasses,

you’ll just put them on,

they’ll be tied through your

phone and an AI service will run

in the background effectively

real time.

So for the lower hanging fruit

and the broader base of folks

that just need to have

a way to hear, see,

hear again effectively, right?

Because you’re seeing what you

would normally be hearing that’s

also coming right around

the corner.

So the ability to have these

glasses as your personal

translation or understanding


it’s going to be ubiquitous.

And the extra services that the

SignGlasses folks bring are just

amazing because they offer it in

places where higher learning

right on through to

entertainment venues.

It’s a class above.

I would suggest what these

other services will be.


that sort of raises the question

about where are the primary

use cases for the device?

Is it sort of education,

entertainment, all the above?

In a restaurant with friends?

What do you see as the main

use case for this product?

I have an opinion about the

glasses, part of it.

So we did not actually build

these glasses specifically for

sign language interpreter or

interpretation or services.

We built them as the future

of computing.

started in a room that

needed to be air conditioned,


They’re giant things that were

like Vaxes and these massive

computers and they turned

into your desktop,

then they turned into your

laptop, then your tablet,

now your phone.

And that is all movie

to glasses.

Look at Apple’s new what

do they call them,

the Pros- Vision Pros that

are coming out.

There’s a ton of companies that

are making and believe that the

future of computing is

in a pair of glasses.

And we’re convinced

of that also.

Because you can take the digital

world and bring it into

the real world,

SignGlasses is effectively

doing that, right?

When they say process,

they create these digital assets

and then they push them

to the glasses.

As events happen during

the ride.

And that takes the digital world

and it connects it to

the real world.

And that’s what these classes

were designed to do.

And today they’re being used in

the medical space for knee

surgeries and shoulder surgeries

and for medical

support staff like Medacta

brings to the table,

medtechs and all those

kinds of things.

So there’s probably not an hour

of the day that goes buy today

that our glasses are being used

in some operating theater


It’s not the same pair

as this pair.

These are designed to be in

the operating theater,

but these glasses are also being

used in warehouses for picking.

They’re picking and

packing solutions.

There’s remote service

and remote support.

So they’re basically the future

computing that signed glasses

quickly came to the realization

that they’re the perfect vehicle

to deliver their services over.

So there’s lots of places

where they get used.

It happens to be signed.

Glasses is a leader in that.


Our mission is that any person

with hearing loss, deaf,

hard of hearing,

will be able to put these

glasses on and get the

accessibility anytime, anywhere.

And so that speaks to exactly

what Paul is saying.

That’s a great visual, Monique.

I love that. That is beautiful.

So the use case is

just ubiquitous.

It’s every use case that

you could imagine.

There’s many that you can’t even

imagine yet that you will see

coming. Yeah, that is true.


without getting too technical,

can you talk a little bit about

how the technology works?

Is it different for sign

language versus captioning or

how do they work for both

of those features? Yeah,

so the classes have a

computer in them,

they got batteries in them,

they got WiFi connections in

them. They’re almost a phone,

frankly, but you wear them.

So the display screen,

instead of being something that

you look at and hold

in your hand,

literally just floats

out in front of you.

you can do many of the kinds

of things that you could do

with the phone today.

You could cruise the

Internet with it,

you can play games with it,

you can do all these

other things.

But it’s this phone device that

you’re wearing effectively,

mind you,

it doesn’t look like a phone,


And the way the display works is

very unique optics technology

that projects an image into

a thin piece of glass.

We call it a wave guide.

And you won’t be able to tell

what I’m talking about here,

I don’t think, but well,

in any event,

this lens that’s in here looks

like a regular lens,

like Monique’s glasses here.

But in this case,

it has these little diffractive

grading surface structures on

them that allow you to project

an image into it up here in the

corner, bounces around inside,

and when it gets in

front of your eye,

it projects it out in front of

you in space where only

you can see it.

So the core optics technology

that allows them to work in

glasses are these wave

guides and display

engines that Vuzix is really

specialized at doing.

The rest of the technology

that’s in the glasses is

basically coming right out of

the phone industry and being

integrated into the glasses.

So the technology

that behind it,

it’s basically this thing

being moved into this thing.

And then once you get all this

processing power in

these glasses,

you can do a ton of

stuff with it.

How do you manage the depth

of field situation?

Because I haven’t tried these

particular glasses,

but I’ve tried others in the

past and I felt like it was hard

to sort of be looking at the

person that I was talking to or

I was trying to consume

in terms of entertainment and

also read the captions at the

same time because I was looking

sort of at two different depths.

Is that something that you have

taken into account

in this product?

pair that Monique uses today

is designed with the images put

about a meter and a half

away from you.

From a focus perspective.

The pairs that we’re doing,

the newest pairs that we’re

doing are binocular.

It’s in both eyes and you can

place the imagery anywhere

you want. In space.

We force the focus again to be

about a meter and a half,

2 meters away. So literally,

if you need reading glasses,

you’re okay because it’s

that far away.

So you won’t need your reading

glasses on with these things.

That said though,

it feels like it belongs

that far away.

The pair that SignGlasses

uses is monocular.

It’s only in one eye.

And so where the things can get

especially if you’re not used

to single eye use case,

it takes a little bit of time to

get used to the fact that

it’s only in one eye.

And your eyes focus based upon

two things how far away the

light really is and what the

convergence of your eye is

of what it’s looking at.

Because your eyes are used to

when they go in like this,

they pull the focus in.

mechanisms have nothing to

do with actually focusing.

They have everything to do just

with where the eye is and how

the muscles have been trained

to focus. Six inches away,

and it’s looking at my finger

here and it’s six inches away.

And my focus is trying

to do close work.

You don’t get those cues as

easily with what money has,

which is why we put it at

a meter and a half away,

makes it more comfortable

for most users when

they put it on.

So what you feel or experience

in a monocular style device yes,

it could be a challenge if

you had the wrong one.

I think ours does a better job

than most around this problem.

In our binocular systems,

you can put it where

you want to,

and so you don’t have that

problem of well,

you do if the person’s all the

way down at the end of the

theater, right? And you’re here.

The closed captioning will

appear as if it’s a meter and

a half away from you,

over the top of people.

Whether sitting in front of you,

it won’t feel like it’s.

All the way down in the end of

the theater where the person’s

talking. Is so it’s positional.

Our guess is what

else can I say?

You did a beautiful job of

explaining that and how I would

say that to Deaf people who say,

is the interpreter, like,

right on my lens?

Right. And I’m like, no,

it is projected.

I say arm’s length because

people kind of easier

to tie that. Yeah,

arm’s length is a fine way

to describe it. Yeah.

And so how we do that is, I say,

in the classroom, but really,

this can be anywhere. Right.

This can be in your workplace,

at the theater,

like you’re mentioning sorry.

Or at the planetarium

or anywhere.

And we take a live audio feed

and video feed and put that

into the glasses,

and it’s about an arm’s length

that we like to say.


So, Monique,

can you share some of the

feedback that, you’ve know,

sort of the positive things,

and if there’s anything that

users are saying, well,

it’d be great if you could add

on this feature or something.

Know there’s room for

improvement. Yeah.

I will say that I’m excited

about the new glasses.

I can’t wait to just get

my hands on those.

They look just like

Paul’s saying.

They look just like these,

and I can’t wait for those.

So some that’s my own little

throw out there.

But some of the reactions

that I see and again,

I’m from a Deaf family,

so my brother and I and about

five other members in

our family can hear.

Everyone else is either deaf or

hard of hearing or later lost

their hearing. Right.

So it’s really close to my heart

when I see these reactions and

people put them on and the

screams and excitement, like,

oh, my gosh, wow.

I’m getting goosebumps just

thinking about this right now.

Hopefully I don’t cry right now,

but I see a lot of tears.

And where is this?

When can I have this?

Right now? I need ten of these.

I want to go to the movies with

this. Or I was buying a house.

I wish I had these glasses when

I was buying a house,

or I’m at the doctor

or anywhere.

The reactions are priceless.

I wish I can record each and

one of them and show them.

But the reactions you’ve seen on

the video with the little girl

at the amusement park at

Universal Studios,

that is just a glimpse of the

reactions that I see on a daily

basis when people put these on,

like, are you kidding me?

I can get this access anywhere.

I want to sleep with this.

I want to wear this all day.

The reactions are priceless.

I’m holding my tears

back right now.

I just don’t want to lose

it on here with you all.

But it’s just amazing.

That sounds magical.

Definitely magical.

The glasses bring something to

the table that you don’t you

don’t see every day of the week.

To put a pair of glasses on.

Where the image just

can float out.

In front of you like that

is in its own right.

It’s amazing to deliver what the

content that SignGlasses

is on top of it.

To me,

it’s a magical experience.

Every time I look in

our newest ones,

especially with how

small they are,

it’s like the technology started

to just disappear.

So when people put it on,

they’re pretty awestruck,

it seems. Yes.

So where can people learn more

about this so that our

viewers can say, oh,

I want to understand

how this works.

Where can they go to learn

more about it?

Well, for SignGlasses,

we have social media pages

and our website.

We can give you all of that so

that we can share that you can

just go to

and get more information.

I do want to hold up a pair

of these glasses.

This is what Paul was

referring to,

and I think you can see

maybe I can see with my eye,

but can you see that Paul

the sport there? Yes.

You get it just right

in the light.

Of course I know what

I’m looking.

See the grading structures,

the little tiny surface


When you’re wearing them,

you have no idea they’re there.

But if you look from afar and

you get the light just right,

you can sense that they’re

there. See them just barely.

And these are so cool.

I love these.

And I’m just drooling over the

pair that Paul’s holding up.

I’m waiting for those.

Yeah, I mean,

you can see the temples

are a little bit


These glasses are pretty mean.

They all it’s.

more processing power in

the glasses that Monique has.

But if you have a phone

with these,

they can do practically

all the same


Do you need a phone to wear

the glasses or no,

the glasses can connect directly

to the services.

They can connect directly

through WiFi.

They can use the phone if you

want to tie them in

through the phone.

But unless you’re

doing something,

I would suggest even when you

in your theme park stuff,

were connected over WiFi or

something in order to keep the

sync and everything moving

as it went through.

So you probably need a

connection to something. Yes.

And the way that we use them,

say I keep saying university,

but remember,

you can use them anywhere but

the way we use them there.

We do have our platform,

so it’s like a zoom like

platform, right,

where the person can put these

glasses on and listen

to the interpreter,

can hear the audio feed and see

the video feed and receive

the services that way.

we do have a mobile app also

that we just launched that can

also pair with the glasses and

receive the services through

that way as well.

And want to learn more about

vuzix. It’s Perfect. So,

any final comments or

interesting things you guys

would like to share?

Has been a great discussion.

If you have hearing impairment


can only recommend you check

this out because if you’re

paying $5000,

$8,000 for hearing aids and they

don’t work for you even,

this is a great path to be on.


it’s incredibly helpful.

I’ve seen people with tears in

their eyes when they’re wearing

the glasses because finally they

don’t have to work so hard to

hear what’s going on around

them in a conversation.

Exactly right? I mean,

I would say the same thing

recently on our social media

page, someone said, oh man,

I wish that my mom,

who’s no longer here anymore,

had this access only

if she were here,

even in my own family saying,

keep going. More of this.

This is why I’m here

with SignGlasses.

answers to my personal why.

Just to be able to have access

to language anywhere, anytime,

it is essential.

It should not be an


It should be the first thing on

people’s mind is to provide

equal access everywhere for

language accessibility.

So I know I’m really excited

right now and I hope

I didn’t miss out.

A lot of things that I want

to share with everybody.

But please find out more about

us at and we’ll

share all of the social media

handles for you to learn more.

Excellent. Well, thank you both.

This was really a terrific


I learned a lot and I’m sure our

viewers will learn

a lot as well.

And I just want to thank you for

your time and for sharing

your experiences.

And I wish you lots of continued

success with SignGlasses as

well. And like you said,

to learn more about them,

you can visit

So thanks so much, Paul.

And Monique. I appreciate it.

You’re welcome, Shari.

Thank you so much.


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About the Panel

Monique Clark is the Chief Operating Officer at SignGlasses. Monique is native to Deaf culture as a CODA. She began interpreting professionally more than 20 years ago and has had various roles in the interpreting industry ranging from Staff Interpreter, Interpreting Manager, Coordinator, Trainer to Executive Leadership roles in tech spaces from the Director of Diversity Equity & Inclusion, People & Culture, and Operations.

Paul Travers is the founder of Vuzix and has served as the company’s President and CEO since 1997. Prior to the formation of Vuzix, Mr. Travers founded both e-Tek Labs, Inc. and Forte Technologies Inc. With more than 30 years’ experience in the consumer electronics field, and 26 years’ experience in the virtual reality and virtual display fields, he is a nationally recognized industry expert. He holds an Associate degree in engineering science from Canton, ATC and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical and computer engineering from Clarkson University.

Shari EbertsShari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of We Hear You, an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss, (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues. Connect with Shari: BlogFacebookLinkedInTwitter.

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