To break the silence of deaf

The Research Laboratory UTIC, University of Tunis, Tunisia


What is WebSign?

WebSign is a project that carries on developing tools able to make information over the web accessible for deaf. In fact, communication systems are using texts, videos and many other media unadjusted for deaf. In this context, Websign aims to improve accessibility for the deaf to ICT and provide tools able to increase their autonomy and does not require the hearing person to acquire specific skills to communicate with them.

The objective of our project is to develop a Web-based interpreter of Sign Language (SL). This tool would enable people who do not know SL to communicate with deaf individuals. Therefore, contribute in reducing the language barrier between deaf and hearing people. Our secondary objective is to distribute this tool on a non-profit basis to educators, students, users, and researchers, and to disseminate a call for contribution to support this project mainly in its exploitation step and to encourage its wide use by different communities.

Websign is based on the technology of avatar (animation in virtual world). The input of the system is a text in natural language. The output is a real-time and on-line interpretation in sign language. This interpretation is constructed thanks to a dictionary of word and signs.


Websign is based on Client/Server architecture. The interpreting module is based on SML which is an XML based descriptive language that we have developed to annotate gestures in Websign. The interpreting algorithm produces an animation as successive movements of a group of joins. Every movement has a fixed time, during it; the rotation of every join of group is done.

Creating Signs

The interpretation from text to signs is constructed thanks to a dictionary of word and signs. This dictionary can be supplied by a simple and intuitive interface allows users to create their own signs and record them. The user can select a predefined configuration of the hand. Several other menus also allow you to animate the avatar according to your choice. The interface shows a time axis (timeline) that indicates the length of the sign created. Once the sign is complete, you can save it to the dictionary with the appropriate word.



Attention :

In order to visualize Signs, you should download and install WSPlayer plugin

WSPlayer is an add-on to your browser which allows you to read sign language streams based on SML language.

Actually only a version for Microsoft Internet Explorer is available.

Download WS plugin 2.0

Embedded sign player
The animation above is generated automatically. This Web3D Signing avatar is modeled using the H-Anim working group specifications that give a relevant method to describe the skeleton architecture and hierarchy. The 3D scene is rendered according to the Extensible 3D (X3D) specifications.


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