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Portuguese to Sign Language translate system will be installed in Brazil


The first phase of the VirtualSign export has a financing of more than 400 thousand euros.

A project to adapt the VirtualSign system to the sign language of Brazil (LIBRAS) will be developed following the agreement signed between the P.PORTO and the Brazilian Ministry of Education (MEC).

Paula Escudeira - ISEP professor and coordinator of GILT, an R&D unit dedicated to graphic computing, interaction and learning technologies - is responsible for the VirtualSign project that was initially developed for the Portuguese Sign Language (LGP).

According to the coordinator of VirtualSign, the developed system converts text into signals, displayed through the movements of an Avatar, but the most innovative part of the project is the use of gloves with sensors and a system of capture of body movement that, together, allows one to identify gestures performed by a deaf person and thus translate such gestures into text.

The agreement signed by President of P.PORTO, Rosário Gambôa, and the National Secretary of the MEC, Eline Nascimento, opened doors for the latter to start financing the adaptation project of VirtualSign in Brazil.

Carlos Ramos, Vice-President of P.PORTO, explains the strategy that was set up for the entry of the VirtualSign system in Brazil. According to him, it was necessary to add two important partners in Brazil: the Federal Institute of Goiás (IFG) and the National Institute of Education of the Deaf (INES). IFG and INES are collaborating to introduce the LIBRAS language gesture dictionary, used in Brazil, in VirtualSign; and the IFG is developing a low-cost glove that will facilitate the widespread use of this system. Then it was important to use a network that could extend VirtualSign through all the states of Brazil (26 states plus the Federal District), taking advantage of the Network of Federal Institutes of Brazil that are in 644 campuses in all the states of that country.

The project will have an initial phase where the system will be installed in 50 campuses, and it will be expected to move to about 200 or 250 campuses in a second phase, and finally in a third phase, it will be installed on all campuses. The financing of the first phase of the project, for the installation in 50 campuses, is superior to 400 thousand euros.