Project Avatar

Avatar Begin Screen
The two Avatars.

Creating a serious game for the Dutch National Police is a serious matter. In project Avatar (funded by the Dutch National Police) we created a prototype of a game where students of the Dutch Police Academy can train their interviewing skills. In Avatar the user plays the role of a police officer who has to interview a witness of an attempted car break-in. Alternatively the user can play a witness and be interviewed by a police Avatar. In an interaction, the user can talk to the system using natural language and the system talks back using verbal and non-verbal behaviour.

The work, done by the Human Media Interaction (HMI) group from the University of Twente and CleVR a Delft company, was demonstrated at the ‘Themadag Innovatie’ at the Dutch Police Academy in Apeldoorn.

The prototype that we developed in the Avatar project is intended as the first step in a longer collaboration between the users (the Dutch National Police), knowledge institutions such as the University of Twente, and companies (in this case CleVR). The tasks for the partners in this collaboration are iterative.

The user defines the global requirements for the system: what should it do. The serious game in the Avatar project offers an interactive training environment where students from the police academy can hone their interviewing skills.

The knowledge institute identifies the (technical) challenges and tries to create new technology. In the Avatar project that entailed implementing a automatic speech recognizer (ASR) for Dutch, creating a socially intelligent question-answer matching system, and offering a behaviour planing and realisation platform. These components allow the Avatars to understand the user, think about what to say next, and plan how and when to say it.

The company created the virtual environment for the Avatar project: the physical appearance of the witness and the police officer, and the game world.




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