[AI] Sign language in virtual worlds

vishnu ramchandani vishnuhappy at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 14 03:01:17 EDT 2007


Sign language in virtual worlds

AP

Hursley, UK: Imagine sitting through a lecture and
seeing a digital character projected on a screen
behind the speaker, interpreting the speech in
real-time,
in sign language.

An IBM avatar translates the spoken word ‘good’ into
the corresponding sign in sign language. The new
technology allows a person giving a presentation to
have a digital character projected behind, signing
what they are saying
IBM Corp researchers in Hursley, England have
developed virtual reality ‘avatars’ that can translate
spoken words into sign language.

The technology is meant for use in the real world, and
could be useful when interpreters for the deaf are
unavailable, or when a conversation is sensitive.


“This technology has the potential to make life easier
for the deaf community by providing automatic signing
for television broadcasts, and making radio
news and talk shows available to a new audience over
the Internet,” said Dr Andy Stanford-Clark, Master
Inventor, IBM Hursley. 

The system, known as SiSi (Say It Sign It), works by
using speech recognition to convert a conversation
into text. From there, SiSi translates the text
into the gestures used in sign language and animates a
customisable avatar that carries them out.

The IBM team and advocates for the deaf caution that
the system is still a prototype. It also works only
with British Sign Language for now.

However, the system is expected to move out of the
labs and into commercial products soon.


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