Women in Computing – Helene Brashear

Ph.D. student, Computer Science, School of Computer Science


Helene's research interests are in machine learning and assistive technology, combining computer vision and wearable sensors used in the recognition of American Sign Language (ASL). She works with Associate Professor Thad Starner to design interactive systems that facilitate communication for deaf subjects through ASL. For example, her research group created the video games Castle Quest and CopyCat, which children play while wearing sensor-embedded gloves. Players advance in the game by making the correct ASL signs. Another project is Telesign, a research system designed as a limited, one-way, phrase-level ASL translator meant to operate like tourist phrasebooks. The system consists of a wearable computer, a head-up display for the user interface, a hat-mounted camera to observer the user's signing, and a speaker to vocalize the English phases.

Helene earned her bachelor's in computer science from Southern Methodist University.



  • Keynote speaker at CDC Conference on Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, March 2007
  • NSF Doctoral Colloquium Fellowship, 2007
  • Silver Scholarship Award, 2006
  • NSF Fellowship, “Workshop on Managing the Academic Career for Faculty Women at Undergraduate Computer Science and Engineering Institutions,” 2006
  • Best Improved Design: IEEE Design Competition, 2004
  • Best Design Solution: IEEE Design Competition, 2001

Visit Helene's website