CopyCat: Helping Young Deaf Children Acquire Language Skills Using Sign Language Recognition

Thad Starner
Cheryl Wang, Kshitish Deo, Aditya Vishwanath

CopyCat and PopSign are two games that help deaf children and their parents acquire language skills in American Sign Language. 95% of deaf children are born to hearing parents, and most of those parents never learn enough sign language to teach their children. As short-term memory skills are learned from acquiring a language, many deaf children enter school with the short-term memory of fewer than 3 items, much less than hearing children of hearing parents or Deaf children of Deaf parents. Our systems address this problem directly. Even though they are still under development our games have been shown to be effective in multiple user studies.

Thad Starner

The Contextual Computing Group (CCG) creates wearable and ubiquitous computing technologies using techniques from artificial intelligence (AI) and human-computer interaction (HCI). We focus on giving users superpowers through augmenting their senses, improving learning, and providing intelligent assistants in everyday life. Members' long-term projects have included creating wearable computers (Google Glass), teaching manual skills without attention (Passive Haptic Learning), improving hand sensation after traumatic injury (Passive Haptic Rehabilitation), educational technology for the Deaf community, and communicating with dogs and dolphins through computer interfaces (Animal Computer Interaction).