Watch: VRChat Deaf Community Creates New Dialect of Sign Language to Accommodate Limited VR Hand Tracking

Challenge #1: VRChat's user base of some 5-10 million people are from all over the world, some of whom (probably 10,000-20,000 of that number) are deaf in real life, and so can't communicate through VOIP.

Challenge #2: Sign language "dialects" vary from country to country, with no one standard.

Challenge #3: VR-based hand tracking for most VRChat users is technically limited, especially as most VR users are on the Quest 2.

Solution: Create a new, international, VRChat-based sign language dialect that accommodates the most popular hand tracking options (i.e. for the Quest 2) — and a global community of deaf people and their supporters, to teach it to each other.

This is how both the affordances and limitations of technology create new forms of online culture, often for bad — but as here, sometimes for absolutely good.

Watch the full report by in-world reporter PHIA, and be sure to watch to minute 6:15 or so for the real hit in the feels. This community was also reported on by Syrmor in 2019, but it looks to have evolved quite a bit since.

Compare ASL signs to their VRChat component (above)

Hat tip: Adeon!

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