Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 1-31-2005

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering - (M.S.)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Richard A. Foulds

Second Advisor

William Corson Hunter

Third Advisor

Sergei Adamovich


The primary objective of this project is to demonstrate synthesis of signs in American Sign Language with a finite number of parameters. The parameters in this method include 22 key locations, six location modifiers, six orientation indicators, 46 hand shapes, six predefined movements and seven possible end effectors. These parameters can be used in conjunction with a computer script and they maximize precision and versatility while minimizing development time and resources. The parameters for each sign are stored in an individual text file averaging approximately half a kilobyte.

The success of this project is demonstrated using UGS's Jack Software, Version 4.0. Jack is a tool for the animation of human movement. The human Jack is modeled using joint angle limits and inverse kinematics methods when moving any limb to a destination. A Python interface to Jack can take the English equivalent of the sign as an input, call its parameters and command Jack to sign.

A graphical user interface (GUI) was constructed using MATLAB 6.5 as a user friendly tool to help grow the database of parmetrically coded signs. The GUI takes all the parameters identified for each sign and prints them to a file. The GUI is easily expandable and new parameters will be implemented in the future. The parameters of these signs will be used in the future as the foundation for sign recognition technology. Animation of sign language is a significant step toward a fully integrated ASUEnglish translator.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.