Mapping Emotions to Avatar Gestures

Here is another project from the Spatial Media Group at the University of Aizu brought to us by the same team responsible for the Wonderland-CVE Bridge described in a previous Wonderblog post.

Mapping Emotions to Avatar Gestures

By Rasika Ranaweera, Doctoral student, University of Aizu, Japan

Representing emotions in collaborative virtual environments is important to make them realistic. To display emotions in such environments, facial expressions of avatars have been previously deployed. Avatars in Wonderland can be animated with limited predefined gestures, but there is no limitation to integrating new animations along with new artwork or combination of existing contents. Our goal is to introduce emotional communication to Wonderland to make it more realistic and natural. In this case existing gestures were mapped rather than introducing new gestures to avatars of the virtual world. We also used user-friendly keywords to trigger gestures of avatars, for example :cheer: triggers “cheer” animation.

Avatar cheering image

Avatars in a conversation with emotion embedded textchat

The following table shows emoticons to gestures/animations mapping in our system.

Emoticon
Emotion
Representation/Animation
:S Anger TakeDamage
:( Dislike No
3:( Fear TakeDamage
:D Joy Laugh
{:( Sadness GoHome
:O Surprise Cheer

Watch the demo video to see the gesture mapping in action.

This project has been written up in the following paper:

Senaka Amarakeerthi, Rasika Ranaweera, Michael Cohen, and Nicholas Nagel. Mapping selected emotions to avatar gesture. In IWAC: 1st Int. Workshop on Aware Computing, Japan Society for Fuzzy Theory and Intelligent Informatics. Sep. 2009, Aizu-Wakamatsu.

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