From BBC News:
Deaf to sign via video handsets Deaf people could soon be using video mobiles to chat with their friends using sign language. Video compression tools made by US researchers make it possible to send live pictures of people signing across low bandwidth mobile networks…. [T]he system developed by [University of Washington computer scientist Richard] Prof Ladner and his co-workers only looks for hand, arm and face movements. In addition, it ensures that the face of a signer, where movements during signing are quite subtle, is presented in more detail. «The large, slower movements of hands and arms can be picked up at low fidelity,» said Prof Ladner. «The face needs higher fidelity because the movements are much smaller.» This approach also made sense, he said, because people interpreting sign language looked at the face of the signer 95% of the time.
This lets the peripheral vision pick up the gross movements of arms and hands while the fovea, the part of the retina capable of picking out detail, concentrates on the smaller facial actions.
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