Sign language a step closer to phones

Video-compression technology reads skin algorithms

BBC

This is why we love technology. Sure, a lot of gadgets are made just for fashion, fetish or one-upsmanship, but every once in awhile something of socially redeeming value comes along. In this case, it's sign language on mobile phones.

Taking a generational leap beyond text messaging, the University of Washington's "MobileASL" project is working on video-compression technology that would improve transmission quality so that American Sign Language gestures would be recognizable on cell phones. "It uses skin-detection algorithms to zoom in on those specific areas in the video that contain essential movements used to communicate via ASL--typically, hand, face and arm movements," according to Popgadget.

The researchers are reportedly negotiating with phone makers and carriers to get the software into their products.

About the author

    Mike Yamamoto is an executive editor for CNET News.com.

     

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