Virtual Characters Imbued with Unconscious Human Traits
As any good poker player, cop or wife knows, the human body has an array of unconscious responses that reveal a person's inner mind. To bring those signals into the online world, researchers at the University of Barcelona, Spain, have created a program that animates flushing faces, swiftly beating hearts and shallow breathing onto a user's virtual avatar.
The system, the details of which were recently published in the journal The Visual Computer, uses sensors and wireless devices to measure three physiological parameters in real time: heart rate, respiration, and the galvanic (electric) skin response. Immediately, the data is processed with a software program that is used to control the behavior of a virtual character who is sitting in a waiting room.
The heart rate is reflected in the movement of the character's feet; respiration in the rising of their chest (exaggerated movements so that it can be noticed); and the galvanic skin response in the more or less reddish color of the face.
The scientists point out that the unconscious processes can be a useful tool for telling stories – in a video-game, for example.
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