SBIR Phase II: The Accessible Semantic Web
This Small Busees Innovation Research Phase II Project proposes to develop an Accessibility Markup Language (AML) that annotates digital representations of English text with linguistic information needed for proper translation into other modalities, as required by persons with physical or cognitive disabilities. As an exemplar of the technology, VCom3D will develop, demonstrate, and evaluate the application of AML to making Web content accessible in American Sign Language (ASL). This development will entail the implementation of an Encoder to create AML from English text, and a Decoder to generate grammatical ASL from AML.
Multinational corporations and institutions have recognized the economic and social need to make information and instruction accessible to persons around the world for whom English is, at best, a second language. To address this issue, international organizations, including the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) are defining methodologies for using Controlled Languages, systems of annotation and, in the future, the Semantic Web to increase accessibility in other languages. These same emerging technologies and infrastructure can provide an unprecedented opportunity to make information available to underserved Americans with sensory, cognitive, and cultural differences. This project will demonstrate the application of emerging information technology to make information accessible to Deaf persons, and will provide resources for further research into ASL linguistics. The initial commercial product based on this technology will be a translation and authoring tool that substantially automates the creation of grammatical, animated ASL from English text. This product will be used to increase access by Deaf and Hard of Hearing children and adults to digital information and to promote inclusive education and employment in accordance with the New Freedom Initiative, recent amendments to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act.
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