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Performing Hands : Teaching Deaf Literacy

Business Challenge

SYS Consulting Ltd responded to a challenge from GameLab London who were producing Performing Hands, an educational resource to develop the literacy of deaf children. Performing Hands would include video stories and educational games designed to help deaf children build grammatical sentences and create stories - in both British Sign Language (BSL) and English.

In order to make interactive materials that would be engaging for children, GameLab sought avatar technology that could be used within industry standard authoring systems.

Our Solution

SYS Consulting Ltd developed a Shockwave plugin so that Performing Hands could use signing avatars created by researchers in UEA's School of Computing Sciences. The child-friendly virtual humans have been programmed to communicate in sign language as well as English.

The system was also designed to include scripted non-signing animations, such as walking and pointing, that could be written in Lingo, the Shockwave scripting language, to dynamically control animation in the games from user's input. The avatar technology developed by SYS Consulting allowed the rapid development of interactive games using sign language. New signs can be created without the need for studio-based video or motion-capture sessions and can be applied to new virtual human characters directly.

Business Outcome

"Performing Hands" was nominated for a BAFTA Children's Award in Autumn 2008.

Martin Wright, Director of Gamelab London, said: "It was great working with UEA on this project. Their avatar technology has added real magic to the project."

"It is very exciting to see cutting-edge animation research from UEA being applied for the benefit of the deaf community," said Prof John Glauert of UEA's School of Computing Sciences.

More Detail

For further information download the full Performing Hands Case Study. Also see the website for Performing Hands and a Sample Video.