Inclusive AR-games for Education of Deaf Children: Challenges and Opportunities


  • Thomas Westin Stockholm University, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences
  • Carlos (middle name) Lusófona University, CICANT, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Peter Mozelius Mid-Sweden University, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Östersund, Sweden
  • Carla Sousa Lusófona University, CICANT, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Lara Mantovan Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies, Venice, Italy



Deaf, Sign language, Game-based learning, Accessibility, Augmented reality


Game-based learning has had a rapid development in the 21st century, attracting an increasing audience. However, inclusion of all is still not a reality in society, with accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing children as a remaining challenge. To be excluded from learning due to communication barriers can have severe consequences for further studies and work. Based on previous research Augmented Reality (AR) games can be joyful learning tools that include activities with different sign languages, but AR based learning games for deaf and hard of hearing lack research. This paper aims to present opportunities and challenges of designing inclusive AR games for education of deaf children. Methods involved conducting a scoping review of previous studies about AR for deaf people. Experts were involved as co-authors for in-depth understanding of sign languages and challenges for deaf people. A set of AR input and output techniques were analysed for appropriateness, and various AR based game mechanics were compared.  Results indicate that inclusive AR gameplay for deaf people could be built on AR based image and object tracking, complemented with sign recognition. These technologies provide input from the user and the real-world environment typically via the camera to the app. Scene tracking and GPS can be used for location-based game mechanics. Output to the user can be done via local signed videos ideally, but also with images and animations. Moreover, a civic intelligence approach can be applied to overcome many of the challenges that have been identified in five dimensions for inclusion of deaf people i.e., cultural, educational, psycho-social, semantic, and multimodal. The input from trusted, educated signers and teachers can enable the connection between real world objects and signed videos to provide explanations of concepts. The conclusion is that the development of an inclusive, multi-language AR game for deaf people needs to be carried out as an international collaboration, addressing all five dimensions.