Online Bsl Dictionary And Fingerspelling Tool Computer Science Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

People who have severe hearing impairment problems are unable to receive any information which is presented in the auditory format. Some people who are deaf from birth faces a serious problem of hearing even with the help of hearing devices and also suffer from a very poor speech. {1}It is found that that the Deaf people have very limited access to public services such as hospitals, health care, emergency services, or council taxes and even in the entertainment. Thus as an alternative, hearing and voice input such as Sign Language will be necessary for these individuals in order to overcome their disability. This study was designed to extent the access of public services with the help of the Online British sign language (BSL) and finger spelling tool. As advancement it also designed in such a way to help them in Deaf Communication through the online in voice and video chat by means of visual internet chat system.

Non Technical Background and Motivation:

In order to understand the Deaf People and to develop a new system for their communication the recognition of Sign Language is of major importance as they use the signs as a medium of communication. It is to be considered that the one of the most important roles in the deaf community is the interpreting the Sign Language. The role of the interpreting is to solve the communication problem of the deaf people. A dictionary plays an important role and acts a virtual guidance though it is a challenging goal. Thus this research motivates me to develop an online British sign language dictionary and finger spelling tool using virtual human animation in order to act as a survival guide to the deaf society.


This project mainly aims to develop an Online British Sign Language dictionary which also contains a Finger Spelling tool using virtual human signing in order to animate the signing of words to provide an extensible dictionary in BSL. An extension would also provide to all the BSL users with a visual Internet Chat system for the online communication such as chats and video conferences. This dictionary is mainly aimed to develop for both the hearing and hard-of-hearing communities.


The research plan aims on two main objectives which are explained below in detail.

The first objective is to analyze the Virtual Human Animation and its tools to produce an extensible online dictionary and Fingerspelling tool "Online BSL dictionary and finger spelling tool" by the use of Virtual human animation in order to interpret the deaf.

The second objective is to provide the extension to BSL users with a visual Internet Chat system.

Project tasks

The studying of sign languages and it grammars, sign languages unification and normalization.

Detailed study on virtual human animation and its core concepts.

The reviews of various sign dictionary and finger spelling tool.

The development of British Sign language dictionary for deaf people with sign language and support of virtual human animation.

The development of finger spelling tool for deaf people.

The development of visual internet chat system in up to-date communications.

Evaluation of the task between different communities of the deaf people and between deaf and hearing people;

Evaluation of the tasks between experienced Professors on signing and researchers involved in signing.


This research describes measurable learning outcomes for British Sign Language (BSL) and finger spelling tool.

This research also leads to the creation of the online BSL dictionary and an Finger spelling tool as outcomes.

Problems related to the study

There are various problem in relation to this study. It constitutes a lack of valuable resources on sign Language and finger spelling especially an online British sign language dictionary which acts as a useful reference guide. BSL Dictionary acts as a gateway in order to help the hard hearing communities and others who are interested to learn sign language. {2}Though there are some useful books on it, it doesn't support for the Implementation as they are not able to illustrate the signing of words clearly and accurately. It is because the sequences of signing are demonstrated with the help of arrows and certain drawings. {2}On the other hand the maintenance of the videos are also in a very poor condition as the videos are stored in the video compact disc (VCD) which has an very poor quality because of the high compression rate, while compact disc (CD), is also helpless because its scratched, cracked, and bent due to the degradation from heat, humidity, dust, and human mishandling conditions.


Books are the most common source of resources. There are many books on sign languages that support the learning of sign language dictionaries. It includes, "The linguistics of British Sign Language, An introduction", and "dictionary of a British sign language in English". There is also several articles and journals on signing such as "Signing with the help of Avatars In virtual human signing" {3} which explains the Sign Language communication through the virtual human communication system.

Previous works

Many successful BSL research are being carried out at Televirtual (Norwich) and the University of East Anglia. The work describes and demonstrates underlying virtual signer technology, and the feasibility of using virtual signing as a communication medium for presenting information to the Deaf {4}. It delivers the readable sign language using the virtual human movements, gestures and expressions and also renders the high quality signs with clearly identity.


In this project, literature reviews were conducted in various key areas related to the development of a British Sign Language dictionary and finger spelling tool. This includes subjects of deafness and hearing Impairment, Sign Language, Elements of Sign Language, British Sign Language, Sign Supported English(SSE), JA Signing, Virtual Human Animation, Lingua Sign, Hamnosys, Finger spelling, Visual internet chat system, and finally on the Reviews of various international sign language dictionaries.

Technical Background

The most essential and elementary form of human interactions is of Communication. The most common form of communication in the deaf community is the sign language. It is a form of transmission of information from one person to another through Signs. The Sign Language has been developed tremendously in recent days. {7} They use different digital techniques which uses sequence of signing in video systems. These sign sequences videos are broadly used in the television channels and internet dictionaries. Various softwares such as Mak Messenger, Virtual Human and e-sign etc have been developed with the use of the signing notations such as Makaton, SignWriting, and HamNoSys. {6}The recent development in the virtual human signing is the replication of the human by the Avatars. This virtual human animation has been applied into various applications such as in post office, weather forecasting etc. Thus in order to provide an extension to the Signing system An online BSL dictionary and fingerspelling tool is developed which is an digital representations of sign language which uses both the Avatar and Streaming Video in alphabetical and various contexts. It is mainly target both the hearing and deaf audience who has no prior knowledge of sign language and act as an reference guide.

Deafness and Hearing Impairment

In general Deafness is the result of damage of the any part of the ear{11}. In order to define it it is the term Deafness refers to the loss of hearing ability from one or both ears, right from the birth.It is also defined as the result of damage to inner, outer or any part of the ear. The term hearing impairment refers to the complete or fractional or partial loss of hearing ability from one or both ears and its level of impairment can be vary according to its severity it may be mild, moderate, severe or profound{2}. There are numerous types of hearing impairments.

Barriers of Deaf people

Deaf people faces a serious problem by both physically and also leads to some mental stress.

Everything around us is based on sound, but it is unable for them to live with this sound.

Highly dependent on machines or an interpreter for communication or even to express their thought.

It is also much important to consider that the problem faced by the is not an temporary, or an chances changing for an alternative it is an struggle which affect their lives from birth to death.

It is also a founded fact that signing came into existence and accepted only after 20 th century so there is still many people unaware of the new technology.{10}

This study address the Deaf people as who have a loss of hearing, will be claimed their identity as an' Deaf', It also associates that the Deaf people are those who uses the sign language as their principal language of interaction and communication {5}.

Sign Language:

Sign Language is an visual-spatial language, which involves some of the portions of the body includes the hands, the face, eyes and mouth as an separate articulators{2}. The sign language generally designed for the people of UK and in Scotland is termed British Sign Language (BSL).

It is a complex and rich language consists of grammar and lexicons and entirely different to that of English. Sign language mainly involves of four elements. These elements constitute the forms of hand, movements, Location they held and finally the orientation. The most important element in the sign language communication is the facial expressions and the movement of hands. As the face shows the emotions of the words and hand movement shows the structure of the word and in turn enhances communication.{12}By the last thirty years sign language has become the standard way of guidance to the deaf people and also for deaf children. Sign language helps the deaf children to communicate well with both hearing and deaf People. As it is cleared that, they pose a excellent communication skills with the help of using sign language {12}. The figure below represents as how the sign language is represented digitally.

Fig: Digital Representation of Sign Language


British Sign Language (BSL) is the most preferred language used for the Deaf people in the UK. It conveys the meaning of the words using body features such as hands, facial expressions and head movements. It is a highly visual language which has developed over many hundreds of years in order to meet the needs of Deaf people when they interact with each other. BSL is not entirely based on the English Language but has a different structure to English. As each sign language does not have corresponding matching word in English, BSL has its own set of grammatical structure. It is a visual language which is constantly developing and changing, as does every living language. It has been estimated that nearly 70,000 deaf people in the United Kingdom,between 50,000 and 100,000 people in the UK, uses the BSL as the main language.{10} It is also found that British sign Language is the fourth indigenous language [1].There are other non-BSL forms of sign language which include Cued Speech, Paget-Gorman Sign System, Signed English and Sign Supported English. These may include the use of speech. These forms do not represent the natural language of deaf people and are usually used in educational purposes. The figure {9} below illustrates the Signing for the word "Weather" in British Sign Language.

H:\final disser proposal\bsl dic.jpg

Sign Supported English (SSE)

Sign language has another form called Sign Supported English (SSE). Sign Supported English (SSE) is commonly used in Britain. {9}SSE is basically not a language by itself.SSE uses the same signs as of British Sign Language but they are used in the same as that of English as spoken. SSE is mainly used to support children's with hearing impairments by helping them with the spoken English, and English grammar with the help of signing.

Finger Spelling

Sign Language constitutes of one of the major components, finger spelling, which is the technology used to interpret i.e. used to spell the words letter by letter for recognition of the spelling and clear view of an each alphabet. {9}It is also referred as an individual display of letters in hands in order to spell out proper names or locations. Though it was found by the hearing people it also plays a major role in the sign language. It only requires the Basic knowledge in Signs of the alphabet A-Z as it basically contains only the letters. Usually an right or left hand is used to perform the signing a letter, and the hand is raised to a comfortable position by bending the elbow. When the arm is protected at a stationary position it is said to be the performance of finger spelling {2}. It is most frequently used to sign for the word clarifications and an particular word, such as a name of the person, the streets name etc. the figure below{14} illustrates the working of finger spelling of by depicting the hand shapes which represents the Alphabets.

Figure Illustration of Finger Spelling

Visual Internet Chat System

Real-time communications technologies such as Microsoft Messenger (Microsoft, 2004) and Yahoo Messenger (Yahoo Messenger, 2004) are increasingly being used to enable users to communicate and to share information in a non-intrusive manner. But as we find for the deaf people the result is very limited. As learning technologies such tools may be deployed to allow deaf users to formulate and exchange ideas in workgroups and it should be specifically designed for hearing-impaired people. By demonstrating how innovative technologies can be tailored to address the needs of hearing-impaired people, we hope to raise awareness among software developers and to demonstrate how such needs may be catered for. The research reported in this paper is therefore motivated by the view that, through such tailoring it may be possible to provide students with equal access to educational resources.