A perceptually optimised video coding system for sign language communication at low bit rates

Dimitris Agrafiotis, Nishan Canagarajah, David R. Bull, Jim Kyle, Helen Seers, Matthew Dye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to communicate remotely through the use of video as promised by wireless networks and already practised over fixed networks, is for deaf people as important as voice telephony is for hearing people. Sign languages are visual-spatial languages and as such demand good image quality for interaction and understanding. In this paper, we first analyse the sign language viewer's eye-gaze, based on the results of an eye-tracking study that we conducted, as well as the video content involved in sign language person-to-person communication. Based on this analysis we propose a sign language video coding system using foveated processing, which can lead to bit rate savings without compromising the comprehension of the coded sequence or equivalently produce a coded sequence with higher comprehension value at the same bit rate. We support this claim with the results of an initial comprehension assessment trial of such coded sequences by deaf users. The proposed system constitutes a new paradigm for coding sign language image sequences at limited bit rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-549
Number of pages19
JournalSignal Processing: Image Communication
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Eye tracking
  • Foveated video coding
  • H.264
  • Rate control
  • Sign language video coding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A perceptually optimised video coding system for sign language communication at low bit rates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this