This movie of the Signing Avatar is a screen capture of the ASL translation of the following text: "Weather is the heat we feel on a summer day. It's the rain that delays our ball game. It's the wind that blows leaves off trees. It's all these things and more. Weather is the condition of the air outside at any given time or place."
The student may select any of five different avatars to interpret the text. This demonstration is representative of the quality that is currently possible use the text-to-sign technology. Note that the avatar uses facial expression, as well as manual signs. Whereas this .mov file is over 2.6MB, the annotated text that is used to synthesize the ASL animation is only about 200 bytes. (The player is available from the signsci.terc.edu Web site.)
The response of both students and teachers to the sign-enabled Web site has been very enthusiastic. As one teacher expressed it, "Kids are amazed that the Avatar is there to help them. They can learn new vocabulary, develop reading skills - and ALL INDEPENDENTLY! Deaf kids NEVER get that chance."