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J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ. 2005 Fall;10(4):390-401. Epub 2005 Jul 6.

Perception of sign language and its application to visual communications for deaf people.

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  • 1Image Communication Technology Group, The Robert Gordon University, Schoolhill, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.


Video communication systems for deaf people are limited in terms of quality and performance. Analysis of visual attention mechanisms for sign language may enable optimization of video coding systems for deaf users. Eye-movement tracking experiments were conducted with profoundly deaf volunteers while watching sign language video clips. Deaf people are found to fixate mostly on the facial region of the signer to pick up small detailed movements associated with facial expression and mouth shapes. Lower resolution, peripheral vision is used to process information from larger, rapid movements of the signer in the video clips. A coding scheme that gives priority to the face of the signer may be applied to improve perception of video quality for sign language communication.

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