Perceptions of sign language and its application to visual communications for deaf people.
Muir, Laura J.
Richardson, I. E. G.
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Video communication systems for deaf people are limited in terms of quality and performance, particularly at low bit rates. Analysis of visual attention mechanisms for sign language may enable optimisation of video coding systems for deaf users. Eye movement tracking experiments were conducted with profoundly deaf volunteers while watching sign language video clips designed to test the full range of movements and gestures which make up British Sign Language (BSL). Deaf people are found to look mostly at the face region, with some subjects exhibiting occasional short excursions away from the face. Factors that drive the gaze away from the face are found to be hand gestures near the face and expansive movements of the hands and body in the lower region of the image. The implications of these results for the design of optimised visual communication systems for deaf users are discussed.