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Valve Researching Sign Language for Use in Half-Life 2: Episode 3

100°
267w ago - Valve's Gabe Newell appears to have recently conducted a focus group with deaf individuals in order to learn more about sign language and how it can be applied to games, notably the upcoming Half-Life 2: Episode 3.

Why? To help develop Alyx's character, and further the animation technology implemented in the Half-Life games.

Newell explains, to quote: "[Alyx] had a crush on someone who was hearing impaired, so she taught Dog how to sign so she could practice. Something happened, maybe, the person is off fighting the Combine someplace else, but that's why she and Dog would start signing with each other when they wanted to communicate without making noise, or communicate without other people knowing ... It gave us the excuse to build the technology for signing."

The focus group responds by noting the importance of facial expression whilst signing. While the Half-Life franchise has been known for its believable facial animation, it might take even more to fully realize the nuances necessary for authentic signing. It'll be interesting to see if Valve is up to the challenge.
 

Deaf call for better phone access

50°
337w ago - Deaf people are lobbying politicians in the UK for greater access to technology that helps them use the phone.

A mass lobby of MPs is being carried out using the same technology to which deaf people want improved access. These systems use different means to turn sign language or text into speech to support a phone conversation.

"We want to keep pace with technology," said Ruth Myers, chair of the TAG consortium that is co-ordinating the day of protests.

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The TAG consortium includes the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, the British Deaf Association, Hearing Concern, Sense, and many others.

Added Ms Myers: "We want equality in education, training, the workplace and as consumers and citizens in the information society."

The mass lobby takes place on 3 April and aims to get politicians thinking about ways to help deaf people get at the technology.

Ms Myers said many deaf people still struggled to make good use of the telephone.

She said: "They are bereft of key telephone services that could help them gain equality with the rest of society, educationally and professionally."

There are several different ways that technology can help deaf people chat via the phone:

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