Using Web3D Technologies for Visualization and Search of Signs in an International Sign Language Dictionary
Authors:Buttussi F., Chittaro L., Coppo M.
Published in:Proceedings of Web3D 2007: 12th International Conference on 3D Web Technology, ACM Press, New York, April 2007, pp. 61-70.
Abstract:Sign languages are visual languages used by deaf people to communicate. As with spoken languages, sign languages vary among countries and have their own vocabulary and grammar. Therefore, the different deaf communities need a dictionary that associates signs to the words of the spoken language of their country as well as dictionaries which translate signs from a sign language to another. Several researchers proposed multimedia dictionaries for sign languages of specific countries, but there are only a few proposals of multilanguage dictionaries. Moreover, current multimedia dictionaries suffer from serious limitations. Most of them allow only for a word-to-sign search, while only a few of them exploit sign parameters (i.e., handshape, orientation, location, and movement) to allow for a sign-to-word search. Current solutions also commonly use pictures or videos to represent signs and their parameters, but 2D images are often misleading for a correct identification (e.g., recognizing an handshape can be very difficult due to occlusions). This paper aims at facing the above described issues, exploiting Web3D technologies such as X3D and H-Anim humanoids to better understand signs and to simplify sign-to-word and sign-to-sign search, by proposing an online international sign language dictionary, called 3DictSL. The paper presents the client-server architecture of 3DictSL and authoring tools which allow deaf communities to extend the dictionary with their own language. As a practical case study, the paper discusses the implementation of Italian Sign Language (LIS).