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Gallaudet receives U.S. Department of Education grant funding

Dr. Kristin Mulrooney, Department of Linguistics
Mobile Signing Math Dictionary with MouthMorphemes
Vcom3D, Inc.
Dollar amount of federal funds awarded this year: $6,865
Percentage total cost of the program financed with federal funding: 100%
Percentage and dollar amount of the total costs funded by non-governmental sources: 0%, $0

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (Deaf/hh) persons rely heavily on facial movements for communication, whether in American Sign Language (ASL), Signed English (SE), or Spoken English. In ASL, signers add "mouth morphemes", similar to speech movements, to signs to distinguish concepts that use the same manual sign. Hard-of-hearing persons who use spoken communication, read mouth shapes to distinguish similar sounds. Existing animations of facial expressions and speech fall short of addressing the full range of "visible speech" and mouth morphemes. Phase I work shows that users of animated sign language products want to see animated signing with enhanced mouth movement; and there is evidence that this can enhance comprehension. For this Phase II SBIR project, Vcom3D in partnership with Gallaudet University, will develop comprehensive models of mouth movements used in ASL and speech, as well as software tools to animate these movements. While the Signing Math Dictionary will be the first application of the technology, Phase II research and tools will be broadly applicable to future products using animation to promote inclusion of Deaf/HH students.

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