Natural interaction with culturally adaptive virtual characters

Felix Kistler, Birgit Endrass, Ionut Damian, Chi Tai Dang and Elisabeth André

Natural interaction with culturally adaptive virtual characters

erschienen 24.01.2012 in: Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces

Verlag: Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg

ISBN: 1783-7677 DOI: 10.1007/s12193-011-0087-z

Recently, the verbal and non-verbal behavior of virtual characters has become more and more sophisticated due to advances in behavior planning and rendering. Nevertheless, the appearance and behavior of these characters is in most cases based on the cultural background of their designers. Especially in combination with new natural interaction interfaces, there is the risk that characters developed for a particular culture might not find acceptance when being presented to another culture. A few attempts have been made to create characters that reflect a particular cultural background. However, interaction with these characters still remains an awkward experience in particular when it comes to non-verbal interaction. In many cases, human users either have to choose actions from a menu their avatar has to execute or they have to struggle with obtrusive interaction devices. In contrast, our paper combines an approach to the generation of culture-specific behaviors with full body avatar control based on the Kinect sensor. A first study revealed that users are able to easily control an avatar through their body movements and immediately adapt its behavior to the cultural background of the agents they interact with.


Keywords: Full body tracking – Virtual agents – Natural interaction – Nonverbal behavior – Gesture recognition – Culture