Various enterprises and personal interests, such as Man-Machine Interaction (MMI), gesture studies, signs, language, social robotics, healthcare, innovation, music, publications, etc.

Month: August 2006 Page 1 of 2

GameTrak Golf

The revolutionary golf game where you swing a club to hit the ball… It sounds rather silly, but the amazing part of it is that the ball isn’t real, nor is the golf court really there. It is a computer game for the PS2 or Xbox. This game has been around for a while. It predates the Eyetoy gesture games.

Recording NGT Signs ELo

The ELo project, in which I participate, aims to create a sign language tutor for deaf and hearing impaired children (age 3-5) to practice sign language. At the TU Delft, where I work, we develop and supply the gesture recognition technology. To train and test the recognizer we are recording a dataset. We are recording 121 signs with as many people as we can to capture natural variation.

Deaf kids can use the Electronic Learning Environment (ELo) for some extra practice , like any kid nowadays has some educational games on daddy’s computer. It’s just in sign language.

Do you want to participate? It will take you an hour of recording in our studio at the TU Delft. Traveling expenses will be covered. Use of the data will be restricted. Mail me for more info.

Technorati Tags

Since this blog features quite a bit of techy, geeky stuff on gesture recognition and sign language recognition, I thought it would be nice to start using technorati tags. Dunno how they work exactly yet or what use they are for you as a reader. Feel free to comment on what would be handy.

Garfield Gestures More

A wrote about the gestures I saw Garfield (and Jon) make in six months of their comic a while ago. It is now the single most popular page on this site. So, I decided to browse the ones from April 2006 to now as well. (done till May 27)

Garfield showing many gestures

‘Real’ Pointing point-caught-in-action point-rude point-focus-attention point-accusation
Index-finger-up point-index-up-attention 2 3 making-a-point 2 announcement
Palm-presenting p-p-classic-triad palm-presenting-2hands-out 2 3 4
Palm-down Affectionate-granting-dismissal-wave
Palm-out 2hands-imploring-heaven 2hands-up-alert palm-out-hold-it 2 2arms-out-inspecting-self
Smile-Grin grin 2 3 4 5 6 hee-hee-laughing (and many regular smiles I just let go)
Cheer Yes!-Fist-Driving 2-Fists-high-cheer
Looks angry-look-threat eyes-wide-expectation 2 3 4 5 6 7 look-of-exasperation
Thoughtful poses lip-touch-doubt 2 3 4 arms-folded-disinterested 2 3 4 5 6 hand-chin-dreamy
Other tap-shoulder-attention elbow-stick-out-demanding guard-face-nasty grab-shirt-threat stick-tongue-out 2 sneak-around pat-comfort hide-speech-behind-hand 2 cough-for-attention amplify-speech-1h-by-mouth yawn-boring 2 dancing 1h-ear-listening

Others: palm-presenting-triad point-rude stare-into-distance shrug big-grin hands-up-in-shock-and-cover-mouth lip-touch-doubt scratch-head-wonder 2arms-wide-out-welcome thumb-up


Not unexpected yet ever so sad: Baby signing is taking an ever more commercial direction with all sorts of commercial crap coming out. The initial research underlying the whole phenomenon was weak to start with. Now it’s been misrepresented so much that it’s becoming just a load of crap.

This ‘baby’ can now nag you about an ice cream in two languages (source)

I see for example the stuff from signing4babies (clicking this link will not earn me anything) popping up in the AdSense ads in the sidebar. I find AdSense an interesting monitor of online commercial activities related to my topics, but do not recommend the sites per se. Signing4babies is under scrutiny but appears not to be doing anything wrong. But the claims about signing babies they make, such as a boost in IQ, are ridiculous and not validated in the sense of cause-and-effect by the research at all.

Evolution of Nipple Fascination

To what extent are we related to gorillas? Well I do not know, but we do seem to share a fascination with nipples. A very common request of Koko the signing gorilla is to ‘see some nipple’. A very common request of signing babies (around 9 months) is for ‘Milk’, which can be nipple or bottle. Phylogeny and ontogeny meet once again? The gesture people in Chicago say gesture can be a window into our minds. And what is on our minds?

Wish you were here? (source Wikipedia)

Canadian Governments Must Sign

After a fight in court, several Deaf Canadians, supported by the Canadian Association of the Deaf, got their right to equal access to government services confirmed by the Federal Court. Specifically it means that interpreters (in American Sign Language (ASL) and/or Langue des Signes Québécoise (LSQ)) should be available and paid for by the government (read more in this pdf)

LSQ is used in Quebec, does the rest of Canada use ASL? (source)

It’s not the same as an official recognition (like with Flemish Sign Language, New Zealand Sign Language, or others), but a very practical result all the same.

Signs of an Angry Cactus

Beware! Plants, and especially cacti, do have body language according to Connie Krochmal of BellaOnline. Suddenly, my perception of the simple cactus and plant life in general is changed. It’s a blossoming horticulture out there, filled with a hitherto unknown flood of communication. A world of plant ideas and tree feelings. This cactus may really be giving us all the finger and must have been really mistreated.

Yo, bro, spare me the H2O. (by Lê Anh Tuan)

Hilarious. I wonder who they are talking to? Is my plant aware I am here? Does it think I can solve its problems? Did this symbiosis evolve in the wild? Will it resent me for doing nothing? I am pretty sure miss Krochmal will, but doubt there will be repercussions from my cactus.

But then again… (source)

But perhaps I am too hasty to dismiss the idea of communicating plants. Apparently, corn under attack from worms can put out a chemical signal that attracts a predatory wasp. Good for the wasp, good for the corn. Suppose for a moment that life exists beyond this planet. Could our dwindling forests call in the Martians?

Right to Gesture Freely?

Thomas Burns, of New Castle (USA), contends being denied his right to free speech when he was cited for giving a construction worker the finger. The question is whether the gesture itself, unaccompanied by words, is an offense.

Pennsylvania courts ruled previously that the gesture does not automatically constitute disorderly conduct, because it is not “obscene” as defined by the law, unless it is used in a clearly sexual context.

I wonder whether it is allowed to say ‘fuck you’ out loud in Pennsylvania? Can anyone from the USA tell me? When is free speech overruled by other considerations?

Here is my collection of cases where people were jailed or fined for gestures. In some cases this involved giving the finger. In general I think courts pay attention to gestures, though perhaps not always enough.

Should the courts decide the finger is enough for a fine, you may consider keeping an adequately shaped cactus handy.

The Divine Roots of Sign Language?

Interested in some examples of sign language storytelling? Check out the daily devotions in ASL from Deaf Missions.

Unlike Mudras, sign language does not have its roots in mysticism. Or does it? I find that throughout a good part of history, there is a special brand of hearing people interested in sign language: preachers. Over the centuries rabbis, preachers, and imams have spent oceans of energy getting their gospels or holy messages heard by everyone. Hearing impairments can surely not take away people’s right to salvation?

Sadly enough, even in the Netherlands, not the most religious country in the world, evangelising and the education of the deaf are intertwined. At Effatha-Guyot they created some sign language material on the computer but most it concerns translations of bible material into Sign Language of the Netherlands (SLN), aka Nederlandse Gebarentaal (NGT).

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