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Posted at: Dec 2, 2016, 1:12 AM; last updated: Dec 2, 2016, 1:12 AM (IST)

Pbi varsity develops software for the deaf

To be released on World Disability Day tomorrow | PhD student worked on the project

Gagan K Teja

Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 1

Punjabi University’s Computer Science Department has developed a software that converts the English text into Indian sign language synthetic animations.

It is the first ever conversion system for Indian sign language that will benefit hearing impaired people.

Developed by research scholar Lalit Goyal (39) under the supervision of Associate Professor Vishal Goyal in almost one-and-a-half years, the software will be released on World Disability Day on December 3 at the Patiala School for The Deaf and The Blind, Saifdipur.

“The most challenging task was to get the grammar of the Indian sign language correct, as it is different from other languages,” said Lalit, who is an Assistant Professor in DAV College, Jalandhar.

“The Indian sign language is three dimensional that uses hand shapes, hand orientation, hand location, face expressions and body gestures. The language cannot be spoken or written, but can only be seen.”

Another challenge, the research scholar said, was to create animation of several signs used by the hearing impaired people. “More than 1,500 words have been animated using the coded language of the computer.”

On the usage and accuracy of the software, Prof Vishal said the software was capable of converting simple sentences into sign language animations with an accuracy of more than 80 per cent.

It has a bilingual dictionary — one for the English and the other for the sign language.

“The dictionary contains a list of more than 1,500 English words, signs of which are displayed using a computer-generated character (Avatar). The conversion system takes the input as English sentence and gives the output as the computer-generated cartoons which animates as per the rules of Indian sign language grammar,” Prof Goyal added.

So, what’s next? Prof Vishal and Lalit said they would develop a software that would convert spoken words into sign language animated videos.

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