Webcams for signing:
A member of our Hearing Support Unit has been asking me about the use of webcams to allow her deaf or hard of hearing students to be able to work in conjunction with children in other hearing support units around the county. The idea is that students in both HSU's can communicate with one another through signing and so on as the number of children in any one HSU is usually quite small and they work at very different levels.
I'm sure this should be relatively easy to set up but I'm looking for someone to recommend a decent webcam that will be able to cope with signing sufficiently that children in both HSU's can make out what the others are saying. I've not used webcams before so any advice on this would be a real plus.
The orb style webcams from Logitech are absolutely brilliant and include a motorised system so the camera phsyically tracks your face rather than just selecting a part of a wide view (as microsoft cams do).
They're a bit pricey but there's an older style than the one I linked to and they're cheaper but just as good.
Obviously not much good for laptops but for workstations they work very well...
The only con' to the whole thing is that I've found the drivers reinstall for every new profile that logs in so if you're planning on using it in a networking workstation environment that could be a pain.
edit: couple of links for you:
Version I purchased and use for school (here)
Newer version with higher def' lense but really not necessary for signing (here)
I suspect the main problem will be the frame rate. Most webcams run at 10fps. I don't believe (although some experimentation might be a good idea) that that is fast enough.
That's more likely to be an issue with the application that's using the webcam rather than the cam itself.
Originally Posted by Geoff
The one I linked to above has an >30fps framerate so they are out there.
Also worth noting that signers can simply slow down their sign rate to ensure clarity, just like talking slower so it's unlikely to be a major problem. (speaking as a BSL signer of a few years ;))
Logitech have these. 960 by 720 pixels and 30fps.
Just as an update or addition... Found this... might be useful.
I just dipped out to have a look at a couple of the other threads and came back to find 5 or 6 replies.
I can see what you mean about the fps issue so that will be a consideration, also thanks for the tip about user profiles, fortunately the HSU have a couple of PC's which are networked but they aren't fully fledged members of the domain so there are only a couple of local users.
This is all real helpfull, thanks...