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Identifier 000386848
Title Interaction with three dimensional virtual humans in ambient intelligence environments
Alternative Title Αλληλεπίδραση με τρισδιάστατους ανθρωπόμορφους εικονικούς χαρακτήρες σε περιβάλλοντα διάχυτης νοημοσύνης
Author Μπιρλιράκη, Χρυσή
Thesis advisor Στεφανίδης, Κωνσταντίνος
Reviewer Παπαγιαννάκης, Γεώργιος
Γραμμένος, Δημήτριος
Abstract Virtual humans are embodied agents that look like, act like, and interact with humans but exist in virtual environments. They have the ability to communicate with the environment, as well as with other agents and users using both verbal and non-verbal means. Virtual Humans can be used to provide assistance, guidance, information and training in various application domains including education, cultural heritage, healthcare, tourism and everyday life activities. They may act either complimentary or as the primary means for information provision and can be instantiated in any available platform of the smart environment, also including personal computers and mobile devices. In the context of Ambient Intelligence and Human-Computer Interaction, they are a metaphor that makes systems more anthropocentric, in the sense that users have the impression that they interact with other humans rather than a computer system. This thesis reports on the design, the development and the evaluation of a framework which provides a dynamic data modeling mechanism for storage and retrieval, implements virtual humans behaviors by creating body gestures and speech synthesis that can be used for information provision, creates interactive multimedia information visualizations (e.g. images, text, audio, videos, 3D models) and implements communication through multimodal interaction techniques. The interaction may involve human to agent, agent to environment or agent to agent communication. The framework supports alternative roles for the virtual agents who may act as assistants for existing systems, standalone “applications” or even as integral parts of emerging smart environments. As assisting mechanisms (i.e., help systems), agents are able to aid users in learning to interact with a system, as well as to offer structured information which may help the users acquire an overall understanding of how a system works and what can be expected of it. This information can be presented through images, videos, text, audio, and three dimensional objects, as well as synthesized speech and body movements. Additionally, systems can take advantage of the agent in order to provide their users with real time interactive assistance. As a standalone “application”, structured information and interactive help about the interaction techniques are presented through the virtual humans. As a component of a smart environment, the virtual humans are able to perform both of the above functionalities in combination and separately, while also communicating with the environment and its participants (users and other systems). The developed framework supports multiple multimodal interaction techniques, even in combination, so as to offer natural interaction in a wide range of hardware set-ups employing various output and input devices. Apart from the traditional desktop interaction techniques such as mouse and touch screens, additional approaches, specifically directed to navigation and manipulation in 3D virtual environments, were studied and implemented. Users can communicate with the system through gestures, using, that is, their bare hands to interact with items. Furthermore, users can use their voice for verbal interaction with the system and finally, users can apply gestures through mobile devices in order to manipulate the visualized information. An evaluation study was conducted with the participation of 10 people to study the developed system in terms of usability and effectiveness, when it is employed as an assisting mechanism for another application. The evaluation results were highly positive and promising, confirming the system’s usability and encouraging further research in this area.
Language English, Greek
Subject Human computer interaction
Virtual assistanst
Εικονικοί βοηθοί
Επικοινωνία ανθρώπου - μηχανής
Issue date 2014-07-25
Collection   Faculty/Department--Faculty of Sciences and Engineering--Department of Computer Science--Post-graduate theses
  Type of Work--Post-graduate theses
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