User-Independent American Sign Language Alphabet Recognition Based on Depth Image and PCANet Features

Walaa Aly, Saleh Alya, Sultan Almotairi
2019 IEEE Access  
Sign language is the most natural and effective way for communications among deaf and normal people. American Sign Language (ASL) alphabet recognition (i.e. fingerspelling) using marker-less vision sensor is a challenging task due to the difficulties in hand segmentation and appearance variations among signers. Existing color-based sign language recognition systems suffer from many challenges such as complex background, hand segmentation, large inter-class and intra-class variations. In this
more » ... er, we propose a new user independent recognition system for American sign language alphabet using depth images captured from the low-cost Microsoft Kinect depth sensor. Exploiting depth information instead of color images overcomes many problems due to their robustness against illumination and background variations. Hand region can be segmented by applying a simple preprocessing algorithm over depth image. Feature learning using convolutional neural network architectures is applied instead of the classical handcrafted feature extraction methods. Local features extracted from the segmented hand are effectively learned using a simple unsupervised Principal Component Analysis Network (PCANet) deep learning architecture. Two strategies of learning the PCANet model are proposed, namely to train a single PCANet model from samples of all users and to train a separate PCANet model for each user, respectively. The extracted features are then recognized using linear Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifier. The performance of the proposed method is evaluated using public dataset of real depth images captured from various users. Experimental results show that the performance of the proposed method outperforms state-of-the-art recognition accuracy using leave-one-out evaluation strategy. INDEX TERMS American sign language alphabet recognition, hand segmentation, wrist line detection, deep learning, PCANet, signer independent.
doi:10.1109/access.2019.2938829 fatcat:ogza6lq56vgznpk25n6tbdg6pe