Lorna Quandt, part of SILC’s Spatial Network, and her team participated in the STEM for All 2019 Video Showcase where their project, “Signing Avatars and Immersive Learning (SAIL)” won the Facilitator’s Choice Award. The SAIL project “is an NSF-funded project housed within the Action & Brain Lab and Motion Light Labs at Gallaudet University. This project involves the development and testing of a new ASL learning environment. Signing avatars are created using motion capture recordings of deaf signers signing in ASL.
The avatars are placed in a virtual reality landscape accessed via head-mounted goggles. Users enter the virtual reality environment, and the user’s own movements are captured via a gesture-tracking system. A “teacher” avatar guides users through an interactive ASL lesson involving both the observation and production of signs. Users learn ASL signs from both the first-person perspective and the third-person perspective. The project team pioneers the integration of multiple technologies: avatars, motion capture systems, virtual reality, gesture tracking, and EEG, with the goal of making progress toward an improved tool for sign language learning.” You can read more about the research and the SAIL project on the Action and Brain Lab website.