Most people use the video camera on their phone for bootlegging concert footage or recording drunken antics. But for the deaf, to whom cellphones' audio capability is moot, cellphone video offers a chance to expand beyond texting, and into the more expressive communication of American Sign Language. Unfortunately, low-bandwidth American cellphone lines can't carry video clear enough for sign language.
That's where MobileASL comes in. This multi-university project developed a special algorithm that selectively compresses the video, lowering the resolution on everything but the speakers hands. This lowers the size of the video to the point where it can pass over regular cellphone signals. And now, the MobileASL project has developed the first prototype phone that incorporates this technology.