Sign language digital – barrier-free communication with 3D avatar


  • Accessible digital communication is mandatory for authorities in Germany.
  • Sign language now works using a 3D avatar also in digital form.
  • A new project with many partners and experts has one Sign animation method developed.

There are around 70 million deaf people worldwide. For many of them, text language is a foreign language; instead they use the Sign language. The legislature has responded to the specific information needs of People with disabilities reacts and obliges authorities and public bodies in Germany to barrier-free digital communication. In the from Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supported project "AVASAG", experts are working together to create a 3D sign language avatar.

Sign language with 3D avatars

The digitization of society is advancing and opens up many new opportunities. Accessible digital communication for people with disabilities simplifies their everyday lives and ensures their participation in society. In the joint project funded by the BMBF AVASAG (stands for Avatar-based languageasassistant to automatized Gsix partners from research and development under the direction of Charamel (specialist for interactive avatar-based assistance systems) are working on a real-time-controlled 3D sign language avatar for the automatic translation of German texts into sign language.

A completely arises in the project novel gesture animation method for 3D avatars: It combines machine learning with rule-based synthesis methods that display text in gestures. The temporal and spatial dependencies of the complex sign elements are resolved very precisely. This achieves a high quality, realistic representation of a 3D sign language avatar.

Corresponding offers enable deaf and hearing-impaired people to participate more fully in society and to integrate more closely into the “digital society”. The results of the project will be evaluated together with the deaf target group and tested in the travel information and service application field with associated partners.

Partners are committed to social participation

Under the direction of Charamel Researchers and developers from the following companies and research institutions in Germany will be working together over the next three years: yomma GmbH – Experts in sign language in Hamburg; Ergosign GmbH, Pioneer for user experience design in Saarbrücken; German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) GmbH – Research areas "Cognitive Assistance Systems", "Language Technology and Multilingualism; Cologne University of Technology / Institute for Media and Photo Technology, Cologne and the University of Augsburg / Human Centered Multimedia (HCM) in Augsburg.

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of "KMU-innovativ" with a focus on human-technology interaction. The project volume is 1.98 million euros, 74% of which is funded by the BMBF.

Sign language for barrier-free communication

Alexander Stricker, Managing Director of Charamel GmbH and project manager at AVASAG: “Digital accessibility is becoming increasingly important in order to convey content dynamically and appropriately prepared for all target groups. Automated instruments help with barrier-free communication. We are enthusiastic about the idea of ​​being able to make a significant contribution to this with the help of our smart, learnable avatars ”.

The project at a glance:

Also read: 3D avatars: How to create them yourself without special knowledge