Open Mobile Video Communication for Deaf People
Proposer: Edwin Blake
Brief Description: Deaf people speak a different language called SASL (South African Sign Language). They would love to chat easily to other Deaf people. It is important to realize that there is no written version of SASL and so for Deaf user to type an SMS they have to use a “foreign” language such as English or Afrikaans or isiXhosa. We work closely with local NGOs for the Deaf.
This project is about building a system to allow that using open cell phones with good cameras. We have had some years of experience in this area and have concluded that only truly open systems like Android will make the project possible. Android is based on Linux and allows access to all functions on the phone (see www.openhandsetalliance.com).
The team will be asked to design and test a system, first on a computer-based simulator and then on real phones to allow:
Effective video compression for Deaf communication using store-and-forward.
Good user interface design using a very simple gesture based interface. In a gesture based interface the users will make specific hand gestures to control the interface.
The best cameras are often at the back of the phone but that means that the display cannot be on the phone screen. The phone will on a stand and you can either try a mirror or TV as the main display.
The connection to the other phone can be via 3G, GPRS, or WiFI.
Computer Science Content: Design for Interaction, Image processing, mobile computing, video codecs.
Specific Learning Outcomes: You will learn to build a complete mobile system and deploy it with real users.
Skills Required by Team as a Whole:
Theory: Image processing, user-centred design
Implementation: You will have to get to grips with Android, which probably one of the best entries into mobile programming.
OTHER: User Interface design and an interest in ICT 4 D issues.
Facilities needed: You can start with a PC simulator, with a bit of luck the next generation Android phones will be licensed for SA otherwise we will order the older ones. You will have access to a SASL interpreter for your user studies.
Supervision: You will work closely with a well funded team and attend fortnightly research meetings. The team will support you in the project. There will be funds for getting further equipment and for paying users for experiments as well direct support for students. There will also be weekly project meetings.
Number of Students: 3 (2 is possible)