A Net Environment for Embodied Emotional Conversational Agents

The objective of the NECA project was to develop a new generation of mixed multi-user / multi-agent virtual spaces populated by affective conversational agents. The agents are be able to express themselves through synchronised emotional speech and non-verbal expression, generated from an abstract representation. This is the first time that such expressive capabilities are featured in Internet applications. The agents' usefulness were evaluated in two concrete application scenarios. From a technical point of view, the NECA platform provides a confederation of dedicated components including an affective reasoner, co-ordinated generation of verbal and nonverbal aspects of communication, and emotional speech synthesis, thus providing a basis for the development of new Internet applications with emotional agents. OFAI was the co-ordinating partner of the project. Moreover OFAI was responsible for the representation of multimodal information and for text generation in the German versions of the demonstrators. OFAI contributed also to the speech synthesis.

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