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 CleVRĀ a Delft company, was demonstrated at the ‘Themadag Innovatie’ at the Dutch Police Academy in Apeldoorn.

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Tasty Bits and Bytes in Japan

November was a month filled with amazing tech and interesting food. I went to Japan to present two papers from our Tasty Bits and Bytes project at the conference for Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE’16) and at a workshop on Multi-Sensoral Approaches to Human-Food Interaction (MHFI’16) at the International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI’16). From vending machines for smartphones to heated toilet seats that use enthusiastic sounds to welcome you back and from Edamame to Yakitori, Japan is a real must see for tech enthusiasts and food lovers. This appreciation for food and tech might have played a role in securing a best paper award at the ACE’16 conference. Congratulation to Gijs Huisman and Dirk Heylen, my fellow authors!

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Dr. M. Bruijnes I presume

My weekend of 7, 8, and 9 October 2016 was a bit above average. On the 7th, I successfully defended my dissertation and was awarded the title of Doctor of Philosophy. The party afterwards was really really nice. Almost all important (to me) people were there and the atmosphere was lovely. Thank you all for coming! On the 8th, I was still smiling! On the 9th, I opened all the presents and had a relaxing birthday.

Yes… I think this weekend was above average. šŸ™‚

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Upcoming – My PhD Defence!

Absolutely lovely and exciting, yet terrifying, news: Friday 7 October (from 16:30) I will defend my PhD thesis! The title of my thesis is ‘Believable Suspect Agents –Ā Response and Interpersonal Style Selection for an Artificial Suspect’. I’m looking forward to the defence with a mixture of excitement, nervousness, and relief.

The defence is open to all who are interested. Location: building Waaier, University of Twente, the Netherlands.

A summary of my thesis (in English and Dutch):

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Deep Learning Summit – Chatbots track

I gave a talk about the virtual suspect at the Deep Learning Summit Chatbots track in London this 23rd of September.

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Full Paper Accepted at ACE

Our paper titled “A Moving Feast: Effects of Color, Shape and Animation on Taste Associations and Taste Perceptions” has been accepted as a full paper at the Advances in Computer Entertainment 2016 (ACE2016) conference. In the paper you can read about the influence of visual stimuli on taste associations and taste experiences. We describe an experiment where participants tasted several samples of yogurt which were presented with projections around them, thus changing their appearance.

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Upcoming Talk

I will give an invited talk at the Chatbots Track at the Deep Learning Summit London, on 22 September 2016.

AI & deep learning are powering interactive messaging services known as chatbots & virtual assistants, which use conversational interfaces to create deeper, more personalised one-to-one customer experiences. The Chatbot Track will explore the technical advancements in deep learning, NLP & predictive intelligence to create conversational self-learning bots for messaging platforms, healthcare, personalised services & more.

My talk will be titled: Believable Virtual Suspects ā€“ Virtual Humans that Role-Play as a Suspect in a Practise Police Interview

A virtual character that behaves as a human can be used to train people in social interactions. For example a virtual agent that plays the role of a suspect in practice police interviews can be used by students of the police academy to hone their interrogation skills. Creating a virtual character that behaves as a human is a challenge we approach by looking at how humans behave in this situation. We find psychological concepts and theories that explains the behaviour of humans and use these to create a behaviour selection model for the virtual character. The result is a virtual character, a virtual suspect, that behaves in a believable and (anti)social manner.


Virtual Agents for Social Skills Training Workshop

I am co-organizing a workshop about using Virtual Agents for social skills training. The call for papers:

Virtual Agents for Social Skills Training (VASST) Workshop @ INTETAIN 2016

The VASST workshop at the INTETAIN 2016 conference aims to give an overview of recentĀ developments of interactive virtual agent applications that are intended for training the social skills of the user. Here a virtual agent takes the role of a training actor in a role playing exercise enabling the user to practice his or her social skills. This technology requires thorough knowledge from multiple research domains, e.g., (serious) game mechanics, human factors, (social) signal processing, user-specific feedback mechanisms, and artificial intelligence. When successfully combined, these novel interaction paradigms can impact the serious gaming industry.

We welcome small, innovative, unpublished research describing the state-of-the-art for all factors relevant to interaction with VASST, such as literature studies, user studies, design concepts and position papers.
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