Research Proporsal - UWC Computer Science

By Mr. Muyowa Mutemwa
Supervisor: Dr W D Tucker
Co-Supervisor: Mr. M Norman
Deaf with a capital 'D' is different from deaf or
hard of hearing.
Deaf people primarily use sign language to
And define their sense of culture, as opposed
to the other groups that use spoken, and
textual, languages like English or Xhosa..
User trials done with Deaf Community of Cape
Town (DCCT).
SignSupport is a system that will ease
communication between a Deaf and hearing
◦ A set of web pages,
◦ Each page has a combination of SASL videos and
English text
◦ To enable a Deaf person to tell a hearing person (e.g.
doctor) how s/he is feeling.
Requires a mobile phone with:
◦ A data connection
◦ And a browser that supports Adobe Flash video (FLV).
The central problem that this research work
seeks to address is “can we develop a model
using Adobe Flash technology on a mobile
phone that will ease communication between
hearing users and users who primarily use
SASL for communication? ”.
Communication between a hearing person
and a Deaf person requires an interpreter.
Most public workers such as doctors, train
ticket sellers, policemen cannot sign.
Technology in South Africa is not as
supportive towards Deaf people like in
England, they have TESSA in public places
such as post offices.
Most Deaf people in South Africa rely on
neighbors and family members for
emergency situations.
Most Deaf people can use computer, but they
have to travel for long distances to use of
While they carry their mobile phones with
them at all times.
By combining video with the text, it can be
for educational purposes.
I intend on learning sign language while
doing this study.
provide a semi-synchronous communication aid
on a mobile phone for SASL users to be able to
communicate with hearing users in public places.
◦ put the Signsupport on a mobile phone.
◦ experimenting with the video quality for SASL
◦ create internet pages for Wireless Access Protocol (WAP)
◦ create a lookup dictionary of videos for the hearing
user’s response.
◦ This system is not designed to a replace a public worker
Deaf telephony projects have been conducted
with DCCT members at the Bastion over the
As a result Deaf people there have become
accustomed to using information and
communication technologies (ICT) at a small
'internet café’.
Most Internet usage at the Bastion involves visual
media, educational programmes in sign
language, and Deaf channels on Youtube.
Results indicate that Deaf users prefer to use
SASL to communicate, they can also use text but
their skills are limited.
DCCT members tend to own low-end mobile
phones with low-resolution cameras and
narrow bandwidth data connectivity.
Deaf users do not take advantage of low cost
text messaging like Mxit.
They might be more inclined to use data
services if content were available in SASL on a
mobile phone.
TESSA (UK), is a Text and Sign Support
Assistant, for people who are deaf or hard of
TESSA combines speech recognition
technology and virtual human animation.
Video calling is available on advanced mobile
but the poor resolution and low frame rate of
the video remains unacceptable for SASL
communication, speech is still a priority here.
The YouTube client is available for a limited
number of phones and mobile operating
Most video playbacks of on mobile devices
come in the form of third party media
Skyfire ( is a cross platform
browser that enables Video streaming.
Flash Lite 3 brings engaging experiences like
web content and streaming video to a mobile
Looijesteijn’s industrial design
◦ We tested a mock-up of the PC-based prototype of
SignSupport at the Bastian.
◦ 4 Deaf users split into pairs
◦ Storyboard
◦ At the end of trial semi structured interview
◦ Recording using a video camera for further analysis
◦ Overall, the users indicated that they would like to
see the prototype developed further.
◦ Deaf people who use sign language as their primary
source of communication with other deaf people
and hearing people who do not sign.
◦ DCCT staff member who were involved in the
computer-based prototype done by Looijesteijn.
◦ 10 Deaf people will help in the re-designing of
Signsupport, focus group.
◦ 4 Deaf people will evaluated the mobile-based
mobile phone,
mobile phone browser,
a video camera,
& Adobe Flash program.
User Trial
Report Compilation
Prototype Testing
Literature survey
Project Design cycle
User survey
Requirement Analysis
Data collection
semi-structure interviews,
discussion like interview,
& a video camera to capture the user trail.
Using Skyfire our intention is to design the
next prototype with 'plug and play' scenarios,
of which the doctor's visit is just one.
Experiment will be done with content stored
on (client-side video storage)
and off (server-side video storage) the device.
text lookup vs. sign lookup, by designing a
clickable image of the entire body and having
questions for part that can be clicked.
Overview of project
Literature survey
Prototype design
Research findings and analysis
The initial SignSupport mock-up on the PC
showed a potential to help Deaf users to
communicate with people that do not sign.
The next version of SignSupport will run in a
mobile browser and allow multiple content
We will continue to conduct user trials with
Deaf participants to provide a solution that is
useful for them.
Testing will resemble that of the PC mock-up,
but on a mobile phone.

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