Friday, November 19, 2004

Best you might've missed: TechLearn, pt. 2

The most fascinating session I attended was Virtual Humans as Online Mentors and Role-Playing Actors, presented by Dr. Renee Stout, consultant to the Joint ADL Co-Lab.

ADL is helping create extremely sophisticated avatar-based simulations. These are not like any you've seen before. They incorporate voice, gestures, facial expressions, and locomotion using standards developed for humanoid animation.

These let you create libraries of mouthshapes (international), gestures, and poses that enable reuse and transfer of animation from one course to another.

The simulation we saw was developed to help U.S. soldiers interact with civilians in Iraq. This is a situation when non-verbal cues are absolutely crucial, so the animation has to be sophisticated.

Not only are the characters avatars, but there is a virtual mentor who is an avatar as well. She guides you through the simulation giving advice and asking questions.

Wonderful stuff. I may cover this in more depth in an upcoming article.

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