Signing Language Education Project


The Personal Communicator converts typed text into ASL signs and speech to create a communication device for deaf and hearing children.

The Personal Communicator v2


The Personal Communicator provides American Sign Language signs and speech synthesis to deaf or hearing children. The program is made up of three parts; the Communicator is a simple word processing tool that allows the user to have selected text signed or spoken; the Dictionary provides users with ASL and English definitions of words, as well as, interesting things to notice about the signs; the Playroom contains clickable objects that react to the user with audio and video feedback, and gives the user the sign for the object they selected. The original version of the software won the Discover Software Innovation of the Year Award in 1995.


  • Select for Discover Magazine Top Innovations of the Decade Showcase. June 4-5, 1999 at Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL.

Audience Reach:

  • Topics Entertainment licensed the Personal Communication in 2001 to include as part of the Instant Immersion American Sign Language software bundle available through software retailers around the country, including, Best Buy, Walmart, and other outlets.


  • Revision funded internally by the Communication Technology Lab. Version 1.0 funded by the US Department of Education.


During the summer of 1996, I began working on version 2.0 of the Personal Communicator. In version 2.0, it was our goal to enhance the functionality, simplifying the interface, increase the ASL vocabulary, and build a hybrid CD-ROM (Mac and Windows, version 1.0 was Mac only), all of which were met. I served as sole programmer on the project. Additionally, I worked with Carrie Heeter to define the functionality and interface of the program. Since the release of version 2.0, I have revised the CD-ROM several times to address the needs of our customers.


The Personal Communicator CD-ROM is available for sale.