Prof. Dr. Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann

Director, MIRALab at the University of Geneva

The Creation of a Virtual World with Virtual Actors

For ten years we have been trying to create virtual 3D-actors. In the beginning we worked with geometrical technology, to animate the actor's shapes realistically. Later we applied physical laws in the virtual world. By doing this, today one can create a virtual world in which objects and virtually living beings are governed by physical laws.

Current approaches aim at introducing autonomy into this virtual world. In other words, a virtual creature should have the ability to grab things, open a door or avoid an object along its moving path, all by itself. One even goes farther than that: In games and interactive TV, virtual persons should talk to us, recognize our emotions and respond emotionally, as well. Research will soon have advanced enough to give virtual actors a separate life, in which the can react together with us.

Psychological models, as well as artificial intelligence and methods of cybernetics will be crucial in achieving such goals.

Translation of the German original of this abstract by Georg Dorffner. Blaim all possible misrepresentations of Prof. Magnenat-Thalmann's ideas to him.