Signing Avatars: a Feasibility Study

Alexis Heloir and Michael Kipp


Signing avatars, by offering a flexible and cost-effective alternative to written content can make the Internet more accesible to Deaf people. In order to be adopted, signing avatars should produce intelligible animations and the technology should be well accepted by Deaf users. In this paper, we firstly show how the acceptance of signing avatar technology can be assessed using two well known methods: focus groups and online studies. Secondly, we present a gloss-driven signing avatar based on an existing solution that we improved by taking into account Deaf users' criticism and sign language experts' feedback. We finally address the open problem of designing standard evaluation methods for assessing signing avatars' comprehensibility by comparing avatars with human signers. We show that the sign language animations produced with our system reach a comprehensibility level that is comparable to the levels achieved by state of the art systems.


Main Topic:  USABILITY


Requirements for signing avatar technology
Flexibility in animation of facial gestures and mouthing
Efficient content creation and editing tools for signing texts
Realistic animation of manual and bodily gestures
Realism and acceptability of signing avatars


[Paper (PDF)]  

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