Cases & Trends

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Helsinki, 1 October, 2003 — Video Message Transmits Sign Language

State Technical Research Centre VTT of Finland researched during the spring 2003 the use of mobile video recorded by the users themselves on cell phones. Forty people with their families participated in the test. Both hearing and hearing-impaired children, adolescent and adults around Finland took part in the research. Elisa Mobile also participated in this mobile video trial.

State Technical Research Centre VTT of Finland researched during the spring of 2003 the use of mobile video recorded by the users themselves on cell phones. Forty people with their families participated in the test. Both hearing and hearing-impaired children, adolescent and adults around Finland took part in the research. Elisa Mobile also participated in this mobile video trial.

On the underground a 6-year old girl named Satu started a lively discussion with me. During our short journey she managed to teach me how to signal her name. Her name is the first word I have ever expressed in sign language.

There are around 8,000 deaf in Finland, of which 5,000 use the sign language as their first language/mother tongue. Moreover, there are a large number of those hearing who can use sign language. They are relatives, interpreters of sign language, teachers and friends.
Sign language is a language of space and movement using the hands, body, face and head. The mobile phone has now been harnessed to assist the deaf in their everyday lives. In addition to SMS messages, video messages have been introduced, which offer new dimensions for deaf people to send and receive messages.

Video Message Transmits Gestures

The test persons described video messaging topical, intimate, personal, festive and expressive. According to the users, video was particularly suitable for expressing feelings and events, the describing of which requires gestures and movements.
?Spoken SMS messages', in which the user spoke his/her message looking at the camera, were also recorded as video. Deaf people, in particular, prefer messages in video format, which allows them to use signing in mobile communication.

The survey was carried out by using the Nokia 3650 and 7650 camera phone, to which recorded video files can be sent to recipients as multimedia or email messages. The principal part of video messaging took place on Radiolinja's subscriptions.

Video Messages Convey Atmosphere

Development manager Pasi Nuppunen at Radiolinja says that the first phone that enables video filming, the Nokia 3650, entered the market at the end of February. The handset can film short video clips, plus send and receive videos. The Nokia 7650 can also be used for making videos, providing it is equipped with video software. The software can be downloaded free from Nokia's web site.

Nuppunen estimates that there are approximately a few thousand users of video phones. "The use of video messages will be adopted more slowly than the use of SMS because suitable handsets are a trifle more expensive than normal mobile phones. Image messaging, however, is likely to become popular fast, for many people today change their old handsets to colour-display MMS phones."

Finns change their handsets to newer versions at two years' intervals. Nuppunen believes that the video phone may achieve a major position in the future, although not all people will acquire it. "People want messages to transmit atmosphere and situations. A video clip can express more than an ordinary still image."

Projects Manager Eija-Liisa Kasesniemi

More information
eija-liisa.kasesniemi@vtt.fi
http://www.vtt.fi