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Laboratory News Blog

Two papers accepted to ASSETS 2015!

Two research papers from the Linguistic and Assistive Technologies Laboratory were accepted for presentation and publication in the proceedings of the ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility. With a historic number of submissions, the conference review process was competitive this year, with a 23% acceptance rate.

The two papers focus on different projects at the LATLab:

In "Demographic and Experiential Factors Influencing Acceptance of Sign Language Animation by Deaf Users," authors Hernisa Kacorri, Matt Huenerfauth, Sarah Ebling, Kasmira Patel and Mackenzie Willard present the results of a large survey conducted among American Sign Language users in the greater Rochester area. This project examined whether demographic and technology-experience factors relate to the way in which people evaluate sign language animations. The findings of this study impact the way in which researchers will screen for participants and report characteristics of their participant pools in future studies with participants who are deaf.

In "Comparing Methods of Displaying Language Feedback for Student Videos of American Sign Language," authors Matt Huenerfauth, Elaine Gale, Brian Penly, Mackenzie Willard and Dhananjai Hariharan present a study that compared alternative user-interface designs for educational software for students learning ASL. The study compared different feedback techniques for presenting videos of a student's signing. The findings of this study will influence the design of future educational software for these students, and it suggests effective ways for ASL instructors to provide feedback to students.

Both papers will be presented at the ASSETS conference in Lisbon, Portugal, in October 2015, and they will be published in the proceedings of the conference series.

Huenerfauth elected as Vice-Chair for SIGACCESS

Director of the Linguistic and Assistive Technologies Laboratory, Matt Huenerfauth, was elected to become the next Vice-Chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Accessible Computing (SIGACCESS).

ACM's Special Interest Group on Accessible Computing (SIGACCESS) serves the interests of researchers and professionals focusing on computing technology to benefit people with disabilities or older adults. The group organizes the international ASSETS conference, the leading venue for cutting-edge computing research on accessibility. In addition to educational initiatives and a scholarship program, SIGACCESS also manages the selection process for major awards in the field. Through its newsletter and mailing lists, SIGACCESS serves as a hub of communication and news for professionals in the field of computer accessibility.

"I have been involved with SIGACCESS since participating in a doctoral student event in 2004," says Matt Huenerfauth, "For over a decade, this group has been hugely influential in my career: as a valuable source of mentoring relationships, professional networking, and publication venues. I'm looking forward to giving back to this research community by serving in this leadership role."

New NSF Grant 2014

In September 2014, Matt Huenerfauth received an NSF award for $538,000 titled "Immediate Feedback to Support Learning American Sign Language through Multisensory Recognition."

The project abstract reads: "Prior research studies have indicated that deaf children of deaf parents read better than deaf children of hearing parents, mainly due to better communication when both children and parents use American Sign Language (ASL) at home. However, more than 80% of children who are deaf or hard of hearing are born to hearing parents. It is challenging for parents, caregivers, and other people in the life of a deaf child to learn ASL rapidly enough to support the visual language acquisition of the child. We propose that technology that can automatically recognize aspects of ASL signing can provide instant feedback to these students, giving them a time-flexible way to practice and improve their signing skills. In this joint research project between RIT and the City University of New York (CUNY), we will investigate automatic video-analysis technologies that can automatically determine if a performance is fluent or contains errors made by ASL students, leading to a new educational tool to assist ASL learners achieve fluency. We will (1) identify a set of observable attributes indicating fluency; (2) design software to detect these attributes using color and depth cameras; (3) collect and annotate a dataset of videos of ASL performed at varied levels of fluency by students and native ASL signers; (4) develop an interactive ASL learning tool that provides ASL students immediate feedback about whether their signing is fluent or not; and (5) to evaluate the robustness of the proposed algorithms and the effectiveness of the ASL learning tool, including its educational benefits in an ASL course."

We've Moved to RIT

The Linguistics and Assistive Technologies Laboratory has moved to the Rochester Institute of Technology.

During the Fall 2014 semester, the laboratory was re-established in the Department of Information Sciences and Technologies of the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.

Our Graduates 2014

Congratulations to two graduating PhD student in the 2013-2014 academic year: Pengfei Lu and Josh Waxman.

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