College of Computing Research Featured On PBS

September 19, 2006

(September 20, 2006)--The College of Computing has two joint projects with the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf (AASD) that will be featured on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) children’s program Maya & Miguel. The Center for Accessible Technology in Sign (CATS) and CopyCat project, led by College of Computing Associate Professor Thad Starner and AASD Media Specialist Harley Hamilton, will air during Deaf Awareness Week on September 24-30, 2006.

CATS is dedicated to providing accessibility to learning via sign language. The goal being to enhance language, literacy, and general world knowledge by providing tools that make text, captions, video, web pages, and multimedia accessible to deaf users, particularly children. CopyCat is a sign language tutor designed to augment a deaf child’s classroom experience by encouraging the child to sign and interact with on-screen characters in a fun and engaging way while improving communication skills.

College of Computing and AASD research will link to the Maya & Miguel Web site in support an open-captioned episode of the program titled, “Give Me A Little Sign,” scheduled to air Monday, Sept. 25. The episode kicks off the program’s third season and focuses on the relationship between the show’s characters and a deaf boy. The program’s Web site will feature CATS tools and resources, and the CopyCat research project as online activities for teachers and parents. Several American Sign Language games and printable activities for children will also be available online.

CATS tools and resources include:

  • ELF - Features signed video, books, and tools that make media accessible.
  • MySignLink  A free online tool that allows users to select any word on a web page or type a word in a prompt box and see a sign, signed definition, and/or picture representing the word.
  • MySignBookLink - A free online tool that allows users to type any word from a book, magazine, newspaper... into a prompt box and see a sign, signed definition, and/or picture representing the word.
  • MySignVideoLink - A free online tool that allows users to type any word from a captioned video into a prompt box and see a sign, signed definition, and/or picture representing the word.
  • MySignCartoon - Features signed video on-demand. This free on-line service currently contains more than 50 animated children's videos.
  • MySignBookWorm - Brings modern children's classics to life for readers via American Sign Language. Web design by AASD 9th grade technology classes.
  • MySignToy Box - Provides children with a signing playmate who is always there and never tires.
  • CastleQuest - An American Sign Language-based educational video game that allows users to control the hero "Abe" by signing to the computer.

For more information about The Center for Accessible Technology in Sign (CATS), click here.

For more information on the Maya & Miguel episode featuring CATS and CopyCat, click here.