School of Engineering


Electronic Engineer Develops Sign-Language-to-Speech G

BSc (Hons) Electronic Engineering graduate Mr Dylan Govender (22) developed a sign-language-to-speech glove, using a sensor-based approach, for his final year project.

The glove incorporates flex sensors, a microcontroller and a meticulously crafted code, functioning across three primary phases: gesture detection, serial communication and integration with a Google text-to-speech algorithm.

‘The essential aim of this glove is to facilitate communication between sign language users and non-signers,’ said Govender, who chose the project because of his interest in embedded systems, coupled with a desire to merge hardware and software elements to address real-world needs.

‘I found fulfilment in creating a solution with the potential to impact society positively – a pursuit I balanced alongside a demanding academic schedule, tutoring commitments and entrepreneurial endeavours.’

He chose to study at UKZN because of its geographical convenience and prestigious accreditation through the Washington Accord, ensuring global recognition of its engineering degrees.

Govender is committed to personal development with his interests extending beyond engineering – he enjoys playing chess and founded Kirabo Trading, where he acts as a mentor in forex trading. During his undergraduate years, he was actively involved in Tech Society UKZN, Enactus, Engineers without Borders and served as a Supplementary Instruction (SI) leader and practical demonstrator for Physics.

He gained both academic merit certificates and Dean’s Commendations, was invited to join the Golden Key International Honour Society and is a proud member of the South African National Blockchain Alliance (SANBA). He is also a certified Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) instructor.

‘Another highlight of my time at UKZN was being part of the 2022 Youth Innovation Challenge as well as the BDO Hackathon,’ said Govender. ‘I also received an invitation to the Entelect Boot camp programme and am extremely humbled after being recognised by the 2023 DHL Grad Star Awards as one of the Top 100 most employable students in South Africa based on leadership qualities and readiness for the workplace.’

Govender is currently employed as a Graduate Software Developer at PSG Financial Services in Cape Town, after being sponsored by them during his final year.

‘My advice to students is always to believe in yourself when others don’t, never stop learning and put God first and everything will surely follow,’ said Govender.

Words: Sally Frost

Photograph: Sethu Dlamini