Improving lives through invention

Julian Olschwang Wins the Broadcom MASTERS 2020 Lemelson Award for Invention

The fourteen-year-old’s innovation could potentially help people with hearing loss.

At the 2020 Broadcom MASTERS® (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars) competition, The Lemelson Foundation awarded the Lemelson Award for Invention to Julian Olschwang of Los Angeles, California.

His project, called Talk to the Hand, is a low-cost sign language glove that could potentially unlock barriers to communication for people with hearing loss.

The Broadcom MASTERS® a program of the Society for Science & the Public, inspires middle school students to follow their personal passions to exciting college and career paths. Thirty finalists, including Olschwang, took home more than $100,000 in awards. For the first time, the competition took place virtually to keep the finalists and their families safe during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Lemelson Foundation each year presents the Lemelson Award for Invention to a young inventor devising solutions to real-world problems.

Olschwang’s glove works with software he wrote himself for an Arduino circuit board. Featuring flex sensors to detect finger movement and resistance, the glove has the capacity to convert sign language to text or speech.

“It took me five months before it worked correctly to interpret one letter, the letter A,” Olschwang says. His goal is to program a glove for the rest of the alphabet, in hopes of creating a potential solution to some of the communication challenges that people with hearing loss face. Olschwang also hopes to develop a mobile phone app that can connect with the glove remotely.

Read more about Julian Olschwang’s project and the other 2020 Broadcom MASTERS winners.

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