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Motion-Captured Laughs Make Animations More Amusing


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Animated characters laughing.

University College London researchers are striving to make chatbot avatars appear more realistic when they laugh.

Credit: madlyjuicy.com

University College London (UCL) researchers are working on the European Commission's Ilhaire project, which aims to make chatbot avatars laugh more realistically.

The work is based on the knowledge that in everyday conversation, people tend to laugh about once every minute, and psychologists say keeping that up is important for making people feel engaged with someone they are talking to, according to UCL's Harry Griffin.

As part of the research, nine volunteers dressed up in motion-capture suits and watched videos and played games designed to induce laughter. Thirty-two observers then classified the laughter, recreated in stick figure animations, in categories such as hilarious, social, awkward, or fake.

"Even a simple stick figure can create a very powerful impression of someone laughing, as we are very familiar with this type of motion," Griffin says. "And from the observers' perceptions of these animations we can infer what movements are important for conveying different kinds of laughter."

The researchers used the stick figures to develop more realistic three-dimensional animated avatars.

From New Scientist
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