From the University of Washington: ‘Can you see me now?’ Sign language over cell phones comes to United States.
A group at the University of Washington has developed software that for the first time enables deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans to use sign language over a mobile phone. UW engineers got the phones working together this spring, and recently received a National Science Foundation grant for a 20-person field project that will begin next year in Seattle.
This is the first time two-way real-time video communication has been demonstrated over cell phones in the United States. Since posting a video of the working prototype on YouTube, deaf people around the country have been writing on a daily basis.
"A lot of people are excited about this," said principal investigator Eve Riskin, a UW professor of electrical engineering. (…)
For mobile communication, deaf people now communicate by cell phone using text messages. "But the point is you want to be able to communicate in your native language," Riskin said. "For deaf people that’s American Sign Language." [continue, see photo]