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Blog: Expanding Your Potential Through New Experiences


We’ve always been told that we should try new things. Over time, this saying becomes so cliche, we may feel there’s just no meaning to it anymore. We may forget why it’s important to continue to engage in new experiences.

Recently, I decided to take up a new venture. I decided to learn how to code a project that uses artificial intelligence (AI). I had developed an interest in AI, and I wanted to pursue this interest further by attempting to gain the technical skills necessary to build my own projects. This strengthened my passion for AI, and now, I’m looking towards pursuing a career that would involve AI. If I hadn’t decided to follow through with this new venture, this array of possible career paths wouldn’t have opened up to me. My biggest takeaway from this project is that daring to learn and fail really is crucial to succeeding in life.

In previous months, before I started my project, I had been looking into all the different activities that neural networks and artificial intelligence can perform well. I learned Convolutional Neural Networks are really good at classifying images (check out another article of mine on Convolutional Neural Networks).

Based off of that information, I decided to create a gesture detection neural network. The objective of the algorithm is to detect the position I’m sitting in, and show me a pre-uploaded image of myself that corresponds with that position. By position, I mean whether I’m sitting with none of my hands in the view of the camera, with my left hand raised, or with my right hand raised. I created this project using the software Processing, and Wekinator. The project uses the webcam on my laptop in order to receive the image of me that it needs to classify. The neural network was trained with example images of me in all three positions, and the data used in the examples were labeled. I used supervised machine learning to train the neural network (if you have no idea what that is and what’s going on in this article in general, I suggest you read my article on the basics of AI). In the end, after the neural network finishes its classification process, it displays a pre-uploaded image of me in the same position.

While building my project, I began to think of the numerous applications it could have in the real world. One of the biggest applications I thought of was creating a gesture detection neural network that’s able to translate sign language into verbal languages. This application could prove to be very useful, as a great number of the world’s population, 70 million to be exact, use sign language, according to Communication Service for the Deaf. This project would be able to close the communication gap between those who use sign language, and those who don’t. In fact, I’m going to try to modify my project in order to make this application a reality. Check back here, as this is where I’ll be posting about the updated version of my project. For now, click here to view the code for the existing version of the project. I’ll also be posting a video on the project soon, so keep looking out for that too!

All in all, I’m glad I decided to take up coding projects that involve AI. These projects led me to discover new careers I may be interested in. I’m going to continue to make projects using AI, and try to solve huge issues with them, such as how I can help solve the communication gap between sign language and non-sign language users with my gesture detection neural network. Going forward, I’m going to continue to find new passions and try new things, and I encourage you to do the same!

Source: Artificial Intelligence on Medium

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