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Wireless Information Services for Deaf people On the move
2001 - 2004

WISDOM will realise a mobile video telecommunications device for deaf people with access to a video server through text/graphic menus and directly through sign language recognition.

Specific design features for deaf and elderly people will be included. Trials will be conducted with remote interpreting. For the first time, deaf people will be able to communicate anywhere with other people at a distance and in their own language, anywhere, anytime.

Deaf Studies Trust has the management and administration role in the project.

WISDOM Objectives

On the basis of CDS and MMT’s recent R&D experience with video information provision through ISDN videophones for the deaf community and in the light of research on sign language recognition and information delivery, this project (Figure 1) will:

  1. Develop and trial a video communication device for deaf people for use in UMTS networks in Europe. In order to achieve this, the components below will be sourced, designed and produced. At the start of this project no such device exists. The Bluetooth enabled Device includes:
    1. Video camera - for sending user sign language
    2. Keyboard - for text interface to legacy telecommunications devices, internet access and to integrate text/video communications
    3. Portable screen - for display of video, text. This is likely to be integrated with the camera
    4. Alert device for incoming calls – wrist vibrator.
    5. UMTS Bluetooth enabled mobile receiver/transmission unit. This will be a standard unit and will simply provide the air interface to the network
    6. All components are to be integrated and trialled in the field to pre-production stage
  2. Create a 24/7 video information service for deaf people on the move allowing them to reach information sources, interactively from any part of the network and throughout Europe
  3. Provide access to the information service and emergency services through sign language recognition by a user interface to the video server, activated directly by the users' signing
  4. Provide access to voice telephone users through a video relay service with sign language interpreters providing the fluent translation in a call that gives the users equal status in interaction
  5. Develop a service and quality of service model for network operators which will support future developments in other Member States
  6. Incorporate standards for Global Text Telephony
  7. Interface the development with 3rd generation network services and provision to ensure that deaf people enter a new age of telecommunications with at least the same access to each other and information content as hearing people
  8. Involve deaf partners, deaf researchers, and deaf users throughout the project by the creation of video-telecommunications user groups to feed forward specifications and needs
  9. Evaluate outcomes according to each objective in the work packages

Sign Recognition System

The sign recognition system which is being developed is an extension of isolated sign recognition systems. In WISDOM, sign language recognition will be used to access the video server.

Creation of a 24/7 sign language video server for mobile networks

Partners have already set up a unique ISDN-based sign language server, containing menus leading to 25 hours of segmented video on deaf business. This is to be extended to the mobile domain.

Integration of text communication and text information services

By making the text medium available in person-to-person conversation, many accessibility factors are improved. The new standards in Total Conversation will be integrated in the project.

The needs of elderly deaf for enhanced displays

WISDOM will examine the situation of elderly people and produce a specification for home installations of bluetooth enabled devices.

Bluetooth enabled mobile videophone

WISDOM will develop a Bluetooth enabled devices for mobile video use. A vibrating alert device is needed (probably wrist mounted) and the receiver needs to be appropriately placed for gender and place of use. As well as the uniqueness of the design, very important for the success of the project is the creation of a continuing user workshop (by BDA) which will act as adviser, tester and clinic for the planned devices.

Remote Interpreting and video relay services

WISDOM offers a more effective solution where the deaf person brings his/her device to the situation, dials the interpreter, who is on call, but not necessarily in a fixed location. The conversation between deaf person and doctor is then mediated by a sign language interpreter in another part of the country. WISDOM partners will trial this system and report on the key parameters of each of the innovations indicated above.

WISDOM will make a major contribution to the development of third generation services for the community as a whole.

The project was funded by the European Commission Directorate-General Information Society

Further information from
Jim Kyle, Centre for Deaf Studies, University of Bristol

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