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Control for Interactivity

Whichever motion generation technique is used, there must be a way of triggering the desired activity in the avatar. Specifying the motion can be as simple as direct sensor tracking (where each joint is driven by a corresponding sensor input), end effector tracking (where inverse kinematics or other behaviors generate the ``missing'' joint data), or external invocation via menu, speech, or button selection of the actions (whether then synthesized or interpreted from pre-stored data). The interesting observation is that the only mechanism available to an ``unencumbered'' participant is actually speech! Any other avatar control mechanism requires either a hands-on device (mouse, keyboard, glove input), or else external sensors and a limited field of movement. While there is considerable progress in using computer vision techniques to capture human motion [1,15,12,23], both user mobility and movement generality are still in the future. Our intention is not to promote speech input per se, but to use this observation to promote (in Section 3 a language-centered view of action ``triggering'' augmented and elaborated by lower-level motion synthesis or playback. (For example, this technique is used to great advantage in virtual environment applications such as the immersive interface to MediSim [43] and in the responsive characters in Improv [33,34].) Although textual instructions can describe and trigger actions, details need not be explicited communicated. Thus the agent/avatar architecture must include semantic interpretation of instructions and even a lower reactive level within the movement generators that allows motion generality and environmental context-sensitivity.

Dr. Norman Badler
Thu Apr 17 08:17:25 EDT 1997