Title: Sign Language Avatars: Animation and Comprehensibility Speaker: Alexis Heloir (DFKI) Time: 2:15pm-3:30pm, Friday, Oct 14 Place: Room 4102, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave (34str&35str). Abstract: Many deaf people have significant reading problems. Written content, e.g. on internet pages, is therefore not fully accessible for them. Embodied agents have the potential to communicate in the native language of this cultural group: sign language. However, state-of-the-art systems have limited comprehensibility and standard evaluation methods are missing. In this talk, we present methods and discuss challenges for creating and evaluating a signing avatar. We extended an existing general purpose character animation system with prerequisite functionality, created a gloss-based animation tool and developed a cyclic content creation workflow with the help of deaf sign language experts. For evaluation, we introduce delta testing, a novel way of assessing comprehensibility by comparing avatars with human signers. To conclude, we present the latest advancements in our animation system that have the potential to improve the quality and understandability of future sign language avatars studies. Speaker's Bio: Alexis Heloir obtained a masters degree in computer science in 2004 from the University of Lille I (France). He obtained his PhD degree from the University of Bretagne Sud in 2008; his thesis examined the analysis and synthesis of realistic human motion in regard to French Sign Language. He is currently post-doctoral researcher at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in the EMBOTS research group. His current research interests include the control and the animation of embodied conversational agents as well as the generation of intelligible sign language utterances using avatars.