Employing AI Methods to Control the Behavior of Animated Interface Agents

Employing AI Methods to Control the Behavior of Animated Interface Agents

27 Pages · 2007 · 704 KB · English

dow, the next example illustrates how cross-media links can be effectively built up between several windows. In the example shown in the left part of Fig. 2, the Persona uses two pointing sticks to establish a visual link between an object's graphical and textual representation. The screen shot als

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Employing AI Methods to Control the Behaviorof Animated Interface Agents Elisabeth Andr ´ e, Thomas Rist, Jochen M ¨ uller, German Research Center for Articial Intelligence (DFKI) Stuhlsatzenhausweg 3, D66123 Saarbr ¨ ucken, Germany Email: fandre,rist,jmueller [email protected] Abstract Lifelike characters are increasingly gaining the attenti on of researchers and commer cial developers of user interfaces A strong argument for us ing characters in the interface is that they enrich the repertoire of available options whic h allow to emulate more familiar communication styles for interacting with a computer The f ocus of our work is on life like presentation agents In this contribution, we present a framework for the development of presentation agents which can be utilized for a broad rang e of applications including personalized information delivery from the WWW Keywords: Animated interface agents, automated multimedia authoring, intelligent mult imedia user inter faces 1 Introduction During the last decade, a growing number of research projects both in academia a nd industry has started to develop lifelike agents as a new metaphor for highly personalized humanmachine communication Our interest in animated presentation agents arose from our previ ous work on the development of the knowledgebased presentation system WIP (cf [2]) Alt hough the presentations (texts, pictures animations, and mixed presentations) synthesi zed by WIP are co herent and tailored to the individual settings of certain presentation paramet ers (target language, user characteristics, document type, and resource limitations such as scre en/page size), WIP did not plan when and how to present the generated material to the user To enhance the effectivity of presentations, we aimed at an augmented system in which an animated char acter plays the role of a presenter, showing, explaining, and verbally commenting textual and graphic al out put on a windowbased interface Despite of the raging debate on the sociological ef fects that lifelike characters may have, yet can' t have, and perhaps never will hav e, it is safe to say that they enrich the repertoire of available options which can be used to effectiv ely communicate information to the user Among other things, they can be employed to attract the us er' s focus of attention, to guide the user through a presentation, to realize new presentation m eans such as twohanded pointing, and also to convey additional conversational and emotional signa ls which are difcult to communicate in other media 1 In this contribution, we report on two projects, PPP and AiA, which are both committed to the development of presentation agents for a broad range of applications including computer based instruction, guides through information spaces, and product advertisement ove r the web In the next subsections, we briey sketch the application classes for these pr ojects as well as the common and specic requirements on the involved agents The central part of t he paper is a detailed description of the employed methods for determining the behavior of pres entation agents Finally, we report on the outcome of a recent empirical study which compar ed objective and subjective ratings of presentations with and without a Persona 11 PPP Persona: A desktop agent The main focus of the PPP project lies on the situated generation of multimedia he lp instructions which were to be presented by an animated agent, socalled PPP Persona The three screen shots shown in Fig 1 were taken after the system had been requested to explain t he elements on the circuit board of a modem to the user Figure 1: PPP Persona annotating graphical objects through pointing and speech To accomplish this presentation task, the system rst creates a window cont aining a diagram of the circuit board After the window has appeared on the screen, the PPP Persona mo ves to a position on the screen that is suitable for carrying out the necessary pointing gest ures The rst step when explaining the graphics is to introduce names for

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