A comparison of machine learning techniques for hand shape recognition
There are five fundamental parameters that characterize any sign language gesture. They are hand shape, orientation, motion and location, and facial expressions. The SASL group at the University of the Western Cape has created systems to recognize each of these parameters in an input video stream. Most of these systems make use of the Support Vector Machine technique for the classification of data due to its high accuracy. It is, however, unknown how other machine learning techniques compare to Support Vector Machines in the recognition of each of these parameters. This research lays the foundation for the process of determining optimum machine learning techniques for each parameter by comparing Support Vector Machines to Artificial Neural Networks and Random Forests in the context of South African Sign Language hand shape recognition. Li, a previous researcher at the SASL group, created a state-of-the-art hand shape recognition system that uses Support Vector Machines to classify hand shapes. This research re-implements Li’s feature extraction procedure but investigates the use of Artificial Neural Networks and Random Forests in the place of Support Vector Machines as a comparison. The machine learning techniques are optimized and trained to recognize ten SASL hand shapes and compared in terms of classification accuracy, training time, optimization time and classification time.