Research Highlights / Full Story

Sign Language Animation Technology

Matt Huenerfauth (above right) directs the Linguistic and Assistive Technologies Lab at RIT. Providing American Sign Language (ASL) on websites can make information and services more accessible, especially for people with lower English literacy. Currently, some websites use videos of human signers, but it is difficult and costly to make content updates. Huenerfauth is creating software to automatically produce an animation of ASL based on an easy-to-update script, thereby making it easier for companies and organizations to put ASL content on the Web.  Wearing a motion-capture body suit, eye-tracker, and gloves, research participants perform ASL sentences, and software uses this data to produce natural animations. Scott Farrell, a fifth-year manufacturing engineering technology major, is performing the sign “live.”

Accessibility and Learning

The college has recruited former head and founder of IBM’s Accessibility Research Group Vicki Hanson, as well as computer scientist and linguistics expert Matt Huenerfauth, who has performed leading research in American Sign Language (ASL) animations. Both professors bring cross-disciplinary expertise to RIT that creates new opportunities for research with colleges such as NTID. 

“We are continuing to grow our portfolio of cross-disciplinary research in accessibility, security and personalized medicine,” said Andrew Sears, dean of the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. “In addition, faculty are securing funding in emerging areas like pervasive computing and wearable tech.”

Cross-disciplinary research is also ongoing in the School of Interactive Games and Media where professors including Jessica Bayliss and Owen Gottlieb are exploring games and learning initiatives that help students learn topics through gameplay. Gottlieb's research explores religion, culture, and games including Jewish and multifaith games for learning. His current game project explores ancient legal codes as game systems.  His mobile augmented reality game for teaching history—Jewish Time Jump: NY (pictured right)—was nominated for Most Innovative Game by the 2013 Games for Change Festival.

New connections. New security needs.

While computing security has been a major research focus at Golisano College for years—researchers study viruses and other vulnerabilities in the college’s secure airgap lab—security research is now expanding to additional departments. Andy Meneely, assistant professor of software engineering, studies software repositories to understand how collaborative development occurs and how software processes can be designed to prevent vulnerabilities like the recent Heartbleed bug.

Finally, college researchers are exploring ways computing pervades each facet of our lives and finding ways that devices can interconnect to enhance these experiences. Mohan Kumar, professor and chair of computer science, and other faculty, are involved in research related to pervasive systems. Kumar co-developed the concept of distributed opportunistic computing in which resources on user devices provide information and services useful to other users and applications. His current research addresses ways to apply distributed, opportunistic computing to areas like health care, transportation, and crisis management.