How many times have you been rebuffed by a machine, be it a vending machine swallowing your cash but keeping its soda, or a ticket machine refusing to give you a subway ticket in a foreign country? It happened to me, and I’m sure it happened to you too, and it’s very irritating. This is why German researchers are developing the concept of virtual humans to replace these annoying machines. These virtual humans, which will interact with you through speech and gestures could be used as ticket sellers, but also as teachers for students taking e-learning courses.
Several research institutions are working on this concept including the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics (IGD).
“The idea behind the virtual character is to design the human-computer interface as naturally as possible”, explains Christian KnÃ¶pfle, head of Virtual Reality at the IGD.