ADAPT Wins Analytics and AI Award for Social Impact with SignON Project

14 June 2024

The ADAPT Centre at Dublin City University (DCU) was announced as the winner of the Social Impact Award at the Analytics Institute of Ireland Analytics and AI awards. The award, which recognises a project, organisation or initiative that uses data analytics and/or AI for the benefit of society, was presented to members of the ADAPT team at a black tie gala event in Dublin’s Mansion House. The groundbreaking work of the SignON project aims to break down communication barriers between Deaf, hard of hearing (DHH), and hearing communities across Europe.

Speaking at the event, Professor Andy Way, coordinator of SignON, said: “We are delighted to accept this award on behalf of our team.  We would like to thank the Analytics Institute of Ireland and the award sponsor, MarshMcLennan.  SignON leverages advanced artificial intelligence and data analytics to create a mobile application that bridges European sign languages and spoken languages in real-time. This transformative tool enhances inclusivity by enabling DHH individuals to engage more fully in education, employment, and everyday interactions.”

The heart of SignON’s innovation lies in its sophisticated AI, which combines deep learning and computer vision to accurately translate between sign and oral languages. Fine-tuned AI models, trained on extensive sign language video datasets, ensure culturally sensitive and contextually appropriate translations.

With over 205,000 sign language users across the project’s target regions, SignON addresses a critical need. By providing an automatic translation platform, it facilitates clearer, more accessible communication. DHH individuals can now communicate effectively with hearing people, thanks to this groundbreaking solution.

The SignON EU consortium includes 17 European partners led by Prof. Andy Way, Professor of Computing at Dublin City University, Ireland (coordinator), and Dr. Dimitar Shterionov Assistant Professor in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence at Tilburg University, The Netherlands (scientific lead).  The Irish team included in the work included:

  • DCU School of Computing / ADAPT: Aoife Brady, Andy Way, Emma Clarke, Jane Dunne
  • DCU School of Inclusion: Shaun O’Boyle, Elizabeth Matthews
  • TCD: Lorraine Leeson, Rachel Moiselle, Lianne Quigley, David Loughrey, Anthony Ventresque, Ellen Rushe, Ruth Holmes
  • TUD: Irene Murtagh and Zaid Mohammed
Societal Partners include:
  • European Union of the Deaf: Davy Van Landuyt, Frankie Picron, Mark Wheatley, Rehana Omardeen
    Vlaams GebarentaalCentrum: Hannes de Durpel, Jorn Rijckaert, Caro Brosens, Sam Verstraete, Jaron Garitte